Union Fleurs Newsletter

October 2014


This is a bimonthly, free publication for industry relations that provides a selection of industry news with focus on information and updates on Union Fleurs events, activities and membership.

Join the Union Fleurs network
Union Fleurs represents and promotes the worldwide interests of traders in the floriculture sector. It offers membership to National trade associations and individual companies involved in the trade of cut flowers, foliage & cut greens and pot plants. Members benefit from many services, such as lobbying and advocacy, news & updates about regulatory developments, networking and exchange of information.

Curious to see who's a member? 
Check out our online directory

Interested in joining Union Fleurs? 
Check out how to apply






Union Fleurs gears up for its Autumn Meeting in London, UK

At the end of this week, Union Fleurs will have the pleasure of welcoming its members and guests to its Autumn Meeting 2014 from 30 October to 2 November in London, United Kingdom.

The programme will kick-off on Friday 31 October with professional visits organised with the support of Finlays Horticulture Ltd.

On Saturday 01 November, Union Fleurs members and external participants will take part in a Seminar dedicated to the UK Floriculture Market and its specific dynamics and challenges, with an impressive line-up of expert speakers involved in the retail, sales, distribution and supply of cut flowers and plants to the UK market. The Seminar will be moderated by Richard Fox, Union Fleurs Vice-President. Caroline Marshall- Foster, Managing Editor of the Florist & Wholesale Buyer Magazine, will set the scene by introducing the audience to ‘What’s so typically British?’ when it comes to cut flowers and plants.

A Gala Dinner will close the day where participants will be able to meet and greet over the exciting discussions of the day and the floriculture industry in general.

For those staying on Sunday 02 November we have planned a half-day excursion and lunch to Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, a historical attraction in the surroundings of London. Participants will discover there the world's largest collection of living plants in a peaceful landscape of royal residences, plant houses, ornamental buildings, galleries and museums.

Over 40 participants from 15 countries will be present. Reflecting the global reach of Union Fleurs, participants are coming not only from EU countries but also from the US, Turkey, Morocco, Kenya, Colombia, Ethiopia and Japan. External participants will include representatives from FLORINT - the International Florists’ Organisation, FSI - the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative, FITA – the UK Flower Import Trade Association, BFA – the British Florist Association and the UK Fair Trade Foundation.

Union Fleurs delegation invited to Agriflor 2014 in Quito, Ecuador

Union Fleurs president Herman de Boon, Secretary General Sylvie Mamias and Honorary President Lennart Loven were this year kindly invited by Expoflores and ProEcuador to visit Agriflor 2014 in Quito, Ecuador from 1 to 3 October 2014, and to attend, together with other international guests, a series of meetings with relevant interlocutors from the Ecuador flower industry, including the Board of Expoflores. This visit was a great opportunity for the Union Fleurs delegation to build bridges and exchange views with Expoflores and the Ecuadorian flower industry, as well as connect with a wide range of international representatives. Agriflor achieved this year the biggest success in its history in almost 25 years. Over 200 exhibiting companies and more than 3000 visiting buyers attended the show. All international visitors who came from the USA, Europe and South America were impressed with this year’s set up, reporting that the fair was bigger, better and more complete in number of exhibiting growers. This success proves that South America is becoming more and more an important player in the world trade of cut flowers.

Click here to read more about Expoflores 2014.

Sylvie Mamias interviewed by the “Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij” on Kenya Duties

Following various misleading articles issued over summer in the international press regarding the loss of duty-free market access to the EU for Kenyan flowers and floriculture products in the context of the negotiations between the EU and the East African Community (EAC) , Union Fleurs Secretary General Sylvie Mamias, was called upon the Dutch specialized magazine “Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij” to clarify the issue and provide journalists and readers with reliable answers.

As the industry’s main point of contact in Brussels, Sylvie Mamias has been involved in the monitoring and lobbying of EAC-EU trade negotiations for more than ten years and has been following the latest developments very closely, regularly updating Union Fleurs members of the negotiations taking place and what the outcome might be.

During the interview, she was asked to elaborate on various topics, such as the changing trade flows, the advantages of a free market, the dangers of import taxes for European traders, the actual state of play and next steps towards concluding the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and the EAC group.

IFTF 2014: Visit the Union Fleurs booth n° A1.35

This year again, Union Fleurs will be present at the IFTF Trade Fair in Expo Haarlemmermeer, Vijfhuizen, Holland from 05 to 07 November 2014. Anyone visiting the show is invited to come and visit the Union Fleurs Booth, N° A1.35. You are also welcome to use it as a meeting point during the fair and take advantage of our area to meet and liaise with the Union Fleurs members and partners.

As an exhibitor, Union Fleurs is pleased to invite you to attend the Fair, by offering free multi-day entry tickets. If you are interested, simply click here to register free of charge and receive a personalised 3-day entry pass by email.

As last year’s edition of IFTF focused on growers from inside and outside the Netherland, this year’s edition will emphasise on tech-companies who increasingly want to be part of this fast growing international floriculture expo. Together with the Trade Fair in Aalsmeer, almost 1000 companies will be exhibiting between November 5 and 7, making Holland in the first week of November host to the world’s biggest floriculture trade event.

Supporting our Members: A view from the VGB

In September, VGB, the Association of Wholesale Trade in Horticultural Products, dedicated their weekly column on FloraNexus website to bring attention to their Union Fleurs membership and the positive impact of the work done by our office in Brussels on both the Dutch and the global floriculture trade.

For Robert Roodenburg, VGB Director, the information and the support from Union Fleurs is unique and extremely valuable. In a country where ornamentals represent such an important activity, it is important to ensure the information forwarded to the VGB members is the latest and the most accurate, without failure in or misinterpretation on sensitive topics such as plant health, legal, political and economic measures. Recent examples are the Russian import ban, the Ukraine crisis, the import tariffs or barriers from Ecuador to the EU and of course the loss of duty-free market access for Kenya to the EU. VGB also recognizes the work done by Union Fleurs in advocating the sector’s interests to the EU institutions, regarding for example the VAT rates in EU countries and other tariff trade measures. Moreover, Union Fleurs offers its members a unique network of national associations and associate members who represent an irreplaceable circuit for information and lobbying. VGB president, Herman de Boon is also currently president of Union Fleurs, and chairs an international board of representatives from Union Fleurs member organisations in Germany, Kenya, Colombia, Turkey, Denmark and Belgium.

Click here to read the full column by Robert Roodenburg (in Dutch)

Union Fleurs President invited as guest speaker at the Florint Congress in Brussels

Union Fleurs president Herman de Boon was invited to take part in one of the round-tables at the Florint member’s Congress on Saturday 27 September in Brussels.

The round-tables gathered three speakers and a presenter followed by an open question and answer session from the audience. Union Fleurs shared the session with Waterdrinker and Rosa Natura and presented the traders’ view on supply chain dynamics.

The audience consisted mainly of florists who stand at the end of the supply chain and are rarely involved in the flowers’ journey from grower to consumer. Sharing the traders’ point of view on the global flower market and its mechanisms proved to be very interesting for them. The Florint event was very well attended and offered a good opportunity for Herman de Boon and Sylvie Mamias to network and reinforce Union Fleurs visibility by explaining its role in dealing with supply-chain issues on behalf of the floriculture trade.

Union Fleurs contributes to the Russian edition of Floraculture International

To celebrate its cooperation with the FlowersExpo Trade exhibition in Moscow last September, Floraculture International published for the first time a Russian-language edition of the magazine. The special issue showcased the very best worldwide floriculture has to offer and the editorial included exclusive interviews, among which a translation in Russian of Union Fleurs article on the "challenges of globalization for the floriculture industry", authored by Herman de Boon and previously featured in the CIOPORA Chronicle 2014. The magazine also included an interview of Union Fleurs Latvian and Russian-speaking policy advisor Romans Vorss who shared his views on his work in the Union Fleurs office and the life of an Russian-speaking expat in Brussels.

The issue was distributed to the FlowersExpovisitors and exhibitors and is available online (in Russian)

Tribute to Gabriel García Márquez in Brussels

The Mission of Colombia to the European Union organised on Wednesday 24 September in the European Parliament an event to pay tribute to Colombian writer and Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez. Between 200 and 250 people attended, among which Union Fleurs Secretary General Sylvie Mamias.

The event was opened by the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz (German). He revealed the audience how he used to be a bookseller before being elected MEP in the European Parliament and has always had a love for books. García Márquez was one of his favorite writers and he acknowledged his exceptional contribution to literature and the world in general. He thanked the Embassy of Colombia in Brussels for setting up the event and told how pleased he was that the life of such a great writer could be celebrated within the ‘house of the peoples of Europe’ (the European Parliament).

Colombian writer Juan Gabriel Vásquez, biographer Gerald Martin and the Nobel Price ‘s brother Jaime García Márquez then shared with the audience their memories of Gabriel García Márquez and some life anecdotes. They recalled how much of a universal genius he had been, not only in literature but only through his humanity and connection with people of all kinds. The event, entitled “A Bridge of words between Europe and Colombia” focused on how the famous writer really helped bridge Colombia with the world, and with Europe in particular via his books and the ‘magical realism’ he invented. The event was closed with a live concert by Colombian singer Fonseca.

Click here to download the ambassador's word for the event (in Spanish)

IN MEMORIAM: Roberto Nevado

Union Fleurs and its members were extremely saddened to learn of the passing of Roberto Nevado end of September. A well-known figure in the international flower industry, Roberto was a long-standing friend of Union Fleurs and an active and enthusiastic participant in Union Fleurs activities over the years. Roberto also served on the Union Fleurs board from 2006-2008 as Vice-President on behalf of Ecuador. He will remembered by us all with greatest fondness. Union Fleurs extends its most sincere condolences to Roberto’s wife Giselle, his son John, who also recently served on the board of Union Fleurs, and to the Nevado family.


COLOMBIA/ Colombian Flowers sought after all over the world.

As most children from all over the world were heading back to school in September, Union Fleurs Colombian member Asocolflores reported that In Russia, school children begin their school year bearing Thank-you bouquets for their teachers on September 1st, Knowledge Day. This annual Russian tradition generates hundreds of jobs back on Colombian flower farms that strive to meet the demands of its now second-largest overseas export market.

COLOMBIA/ Florverde® presents first results from REDES-CAR program

In a short video published in September on their new online blog, Florverde® Sustainable Flowers broadcasted a presentation by Luis Fernando Nieto from AgroIndustrial Eusebio flower on how his company has been investing to figure out what’s wrong among the supply chain and how they can make the differenece to their annual savings achieving a Cleaner Production Programme.

You can watch the video here.

THE NETHERLANDS & ITALY/ Dutch Flowers to celebrate Italian Grandparents

On Sunday, 28 September Italians celebrated the start of the international week for the elderly with a special ceremony on St. Peter’s square in Rome. The theme of the celebration was “La Benedizione della lunga vita”. 100.000 Grandparents attended a special service given by Pope Francis. For the occasion, the altar was decorated with more than 500 white Avalanche roses, yellow lilies and 500 white chrysanthemums, partly provided by the Dutch Flower industry who is at the initiative of Grandparents’ Day, “Festa dei Nonni” on 2 October. The white Avalanche rose represents love and devotion. The lily is the flower of Mary as the protector of the family and the chrysanthemum stands for truth, the "real" life. White and yellow are the colours of the Vatican. The Mass was broadcasted internationally with more than 80 million viewers, giving Dutch flowers a great international exposure.

Read more on the VGB website (in Dutch)

GERMANY - NETHERLANDS/ BGI and VGB granted EU funding to promote bilateral wholesale cooperation.

Following the announcement of their collaboration at IPM in Essen last January, BGI (Verband des Deutschen Blumen-Groß- und Importhandels e.V./ Association of the German Flower Wholesale and Import Trade) and VGB (Dutch Association of Wholesale Trade in Horticultural Products) have continued their efforts towards promoting German and Dutch Flowers & Plants sector through future projects to support Economics, Technology and Innovation beyond their frontiers. As part of this new mission, the two associations have received European funding from the Operational Programme 'Euregio Maas-Rhein' co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the European territorial cooperation objective.

In line with their commitment, BGI has already commissioned a market research on both sides of the border. According to the related article on the BGI website, the first results of this research are expected in the late fall. “Then, said BGI director Frank Zeiler, we will look at how to organize targeted measures together with the VGB for German and Dutch producers, wholesalers and logistics.

FRANCE/ Val’hor publishes 2013 statistics on purchase of plants in France

Val’hor, the French Association for Horticulture Professionals and FranceAgriMer, the State Agency for the French Agricultural and Fishing sectors have disclosed the 2013 statistics on French households’ spending in ornamentals:

In 2013, 78% of households have bought at least one plant product for an average annual amount of 123.10€, which is less than in 2012. Looking at the distribution channels, the number of people buying directly to the producer is in net decrease, while the amount spent in florist shops remain stable. Retail and supermarkets observe however an important increase in both the quantity of products sold and the number of buyers.

Although figures continue dropping, there are signs of recovery especially for the interior plant products.

You can access the global overview here (in French) or the full publication here (in French)

KENYA/ KFC to enhance smallholders’ market access

Kenya Flower Council in collaboration with the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) will soon embark on a project to enhance smallholders’ market access.  This has been necessitated by the fact that smallholders’ farmers have for a long time failed to access markets due of lack of capacity to demonstrate compliance to international standards and limited opportunities to meet with buyers.

This project intends to ensure small holder farmers have the capacity to understand and implement the compliance aspects through the set code of practice. This will be achieved through group certification. In addition market linkage will be created between farmers and buyers. More information will follow.

KENYA/ KFC to focus on sustainability for market access

The Kenya Flower Council will hold meetings on 1 November in the United Kingdom during the Union Fleurs Autumn Meeting and on 6 November in Netherlands during the IFTF Trade Show. The aim of theses meetings is to share outputs from the National Mechanism for industry-wide Compliance (NMC), a project funded by the Government of The Netherlands. NMC aims to support the Kenya Flower industry in assuring sustained access to international markets. The meetings will provide a platform for the industry to engage the supply and the market-end of the value chain to address challenges and opportunities arising from the expanding and emerging discerning and international trade practices.

Overall, NMC contributes to Kenya Flower Industry sustainability in enhancing market access, at a time when growth of international demand for flowers has been projected at 5% against exacting consumer requirements for product quality and commitment of due diligence to environmental stewardship and social accountability.

You are welcome to attend the meeting on 6 November in IFTF, meeting room 1 from 2.30pm. KFC will also be exhibiting at the IFTF show with a stand number C6.05.


HPP Exhibitions: fully booked IFTF trying to cope with high demand for exhibit space

Interest for exhibiting in this year’s edition of IFTF is unexpectedly high this year. Applications for exhibit space are still coming in daily. Especially companies that are specialized in floriculture technology seem to have found the way to Expo Haarlemmermeer in Vijfhuizen to exhibit in the International Floriculture Trade Fair to be held in the first week of November. The problem however is that IFTF is fully booked and although the organizers are trying hard to create more exhibit space for companies, it is inevitable that interested companies had to be put on a waiting list.

Last year there was a strong demand for stand space coming from flower growers; especially farms from Kenya, Ecuador and Colombia took a relatively large part of the available exhibition space. This year apparently many tech-companies want to be part as well of this fast growing international floriculture expo. Together with the Trade Fair in Aalsmeer, almost 1000 companies will be exhibiting between November 5 and 7. As already expected before, Holland again managed to become the organizer of world’s biggest floriculture trade event.

After some changes in the field of Dutch based horticulture exhibitions a few years ago, Holland is without any doubt back at the top and the place to be in the first week of November for any one active in the field of growing and trading cut flowers & potted plants. Both expos as well the numerous open houses that will be organized in the same week as when the fairs will take place, will secure a successful and not to be missed visit for any business visitor.

FSI Executive Officer Jeroen Oudheusden “Friend of the Month” on Florverde® Sustainable Flowers blog.

Every month, Florverde gives the floor to a figure in the Flower industry that plays a role in making our sector more sustainable. In August, the team behind Florverde Blog, “Tingua’s Block” asked Jeroen Oudheusden, Executive Officer at FSI the Floriculture Sustainability Initiative, to share his thoughts on where exactly the flower industry meets sustainability and why.

Click here to read the full interview.

FLORINT & Chrysal International Join Forces

International florist organisation FLORINT and Chrysal International have signed an agreement to cooperate on several projects, which aim to raise awareness among florists of optimising flower quality and of increasing consumer satisfaction among flower buyers.

The two parties will exchange information and work together on a number of projects and activities throughout Europe. Both parties are looking forward to this collaboration. According to Emile Dings (Export Manager Chrysal International): "It’s good to join our forces, so that we can make florists in Europe aware of the opportunity to lower their costs by reducing waste.

"Chrysal International and FLORINT aim to help florists distinguish themselves through added value, good customer service and delivering flowers in excellent condition to consumers. Supplying top-quality flowers that consumers can enjoy for a long time can only be realised by implementing a chain-wide strategy of quality control.

Ciopora Presents its Position Papers on the Breeders’ vision for the future

During the latest UPOV meeting week on October 13-17 CIOPORA started promoting the contents of its Position Papers on IP, unanimously adopted by the CIOPORA members during the Annual General Meeting 2014 in the Hague, the Netherlands.

Plant Breeders Rights experts of twelve UPOV members as well as the Vice Secretary General of UPOV Mr. Peter Button attended the external event organized by CIOPORA on October 13 at the premises of the Ecole Hôtelière Genève. During the three hour meeting the attendees were introduced into the main statements of the papers and invited to provide their feedback on the vision of the breeders’ community for the future development within the UPOV.

Putting forward the message about the central role of innovation and its effective protection for the sustainable development of the horticultural industry, the President of CIOPORA, Andrea Mansuino, explained that the main goal of the meeting is to initiate a productive discourse with PBR experts about the current realities of the horticultural sector.

Click here to download the Press release.


IFTF electronic tickets

Union Fleurs will be present at IFTF in Vijfhuizen, Holland from 05 to 07 November 2014.

You are most welcome to visit the Union Fleurs Booth, N° A1.35

As an exhibitor, Union Fleurs is offering free multi-day entry tickets. If you are interested, click here to register free of charge and receive a personalised 3-day entry pass by email.

IPM 2015 (27-30 January 2015)

IPM Essen is one of the largest trade fairs in the fields of plants and technology, floriculture and sales- promoting measures.

More than 1,500 exhibitors from 50 countries and trade visitors from more than 100 countries are expected at IPM Essen in 2015.

IPM Essen will take place over 4 days from 27 to 30 January 2015.

In 2015 again, Union Fleurs will participate to IPM Essen in full partnership with its German member association BGI. Visit us at the BGI Trade Center in Hall 1!

More information about BGI and the BGI Trade Center is available on the BGI website

Click here for more information on IPM Essen 2014.