Corona crisis: country updates27 March 2020
Royal FloraHolland keeps a close eye on developments related to the Coronavirus in order to keep our (member) suppliers, buyers, employees and visitors to our locations safe and healthy. In addition, we inform you about the consequences of the corona virus on the Dutch and international horticultural market. This has been supplemented with news from our own sources, colleagues of Royal FloraHolland.
Update 27 March 2020
In this article you will find an update from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), who are involved in the crisis measures surrounding the Coronavirus and informs Royal FloraHolland about the impact of the virus on the export market.
Flower shops and garden centers are closed, but flowers and plants are still sold through food shops (including pet food shops), shops at petrol stations and online sales with home delivery (however, the latter sales channel is still in its infancy in Belgium). Several players in the sector are experimenting with online sales. The auction objects that flower shops and garden centers are closing, but supermarkets may continue to sell often imported flowers and plants. Euroveiling states that spring turnover accounts for 50% of the total turnover of local retail trade. This turnover disappears completely.
On March 25, the Bulgarian health minister forbade the access of trucks to Turkey. The reason was that a 50 km truck (1200 trucks) was waiting along the highway near Maritsa to enter Turkey via the Kapitan Andreevo border crossing. This border post between Bulgaria and Turkey is one of the busiest in the world and is also the main entrance to Turkey from Europe. The reason for the delay was the Turkish government's expected intention to quarantine all truck drivers for two weeks after entering them by leaving them in their trucks. The border reopened after intensive consultation between the authorities and interest groups in Bulgaria and Romania and the Turkish authorities.
Current developments in China are encouraging. Also for floriculture. The sector has been struggling in recent months. After the strict measures taken to control the virus, many companies, including many growers, came to a standstill. Fortunately, the strict measures have had an effect, because the number of infected people has decreased. Many companies are open again and the demand for flowers is increasing again. Flower markets are opening again in more and more cities and the number of visitors is increasing every day. Spring seems to be having a positive impact, and with an important 'flower day' on the agenda (May 20, the 'Chinese Valentine'), expectations are positive. (Source: Flower Plant News)
New measures will be introduced between March 28 and April 11. Visiting supermarkets, pharmacies, drugstores, bringing children to the nursery if necessary and walks are allowed. The Hungarian position at EU is that maintaining food supplies and providing financial security to agricultural producers are important topics. Immediate assistance at EU level is necessary and the regulation of grants needs to be relaxed.
The crisis hits the Hungarian floriculture sector hard with an estimated damage of 500 million euros. The worst will hit flower growers with an 85% drop in demand, followed by plant growers (80% drop) and then tree nurseries with a 50% drop. The Hungarian Floriculture sector is in talks with the Ministry of Agriculture to get support for the floriculture sector. Many companies cannot survive without aid.
The Ministry of Transport has tightened inspection procedures in ports for fishing and merchant ships to protect personnel and prevent virus spread. Ships are only allowed to enter after permission from the health authorities. Inspectors are provided with protective equipment and must not come into contact with the ship's crew. The crew may not leave the ship without the express permission of the health authorities. Documents must be wrapped in plastic film and presented disinfected to the port authorities.
The Mexican floriculture sector is the most affected of all agricultural sectors by COVID19. Mexico mainly produces for the local market. The months of March to May are among the most important months of the year, due to Mother's Day celebrated in Mexico on May 10. Flowers are also widely used at religious and social events, which have now been canceled, and are not among the basic needs of the consumer. In addition, imported inputs are becoming increasingly expensive for the sector as a result of the sharp decline in the peso against the EUR and USD. NL supplies bulbs, cuttings, substrate and technology to the Mexican floriculture sector. Retail prices of products that do fall under basic Mexican needs (eg canned tuna, avocado, eggs) seem to be rising sharply.
The Ukrainian government has extended national quarantine by one month to April 24 and a nationwide emergency has been declared. The emergency allows authorities to conduct mandatory medical examinations of people with COVID-19 symptoms, perform mandatory hospitalizations, and enforce home quarantines. As part of the closure, Ukraine's land, sea and air borders will be for all travels from Friday March 27.
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- 26 March 2020
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