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Breeders & Distributors Conference travels across the Netherlands and Germany

On 3-4 October, breeders and distributors of pot and bedding plants united in Venlo (NL) for a two-day program packed with inspirational visits and informative presentations in both the Netherlands and Germany.

The first day of the event was dedicated to Energy and Research. Erik Bax from AAB provided an update on the Energy Transition. In the near future, taxes will define the energy price instead of availability. Our industry needs to save energy and look for alternative sources to remain successful.

The afternoon was spent at Signify in Eindhoven, where Stefan van de Voort showed how vertical farming and greenhouse growing can go hand in hand. The Signify vertical farming trials showed how the optimal light recipe increases the yield, growth, or plant structure of lettuce, herbs, and strawberries. Sjaak Bakker and Henk Jan van Ooijen from Horti ISO shared the near future in robotics, explaining how robots are being developed for delicate tasks in a complex environment, such as harvesting in the greenhouse.

For the second day of the conference, the group hopped across the border and focused on production and distribution in the Straelen area (DE). The first stop was Landgard, where Director Florian Hinrichs explained how this leading grower cooperative acts as a hub between production and customers, reaching a sales volume of approx. 2 billion/year. Cees Hoekstra provided insights on the auction room with eight digital clocks selling plants to 200 buyers in the room.

After a guided tour of the auction and cash & carry market, Henning Krause explained how the sales in Germany dropped again in the first half of 2023 due to unfavorable weather conditions and insecurities at the end-consumer level. The program continued with a visit to Europlant Canders, where Tom & Marc Canders highlighted how the Belaju Group produces 150 million URC for 100 growers, resulting in 65 million pots per year. Henrik Rietberg and Tjerk van Bruchem from Edens Creations shared the breeding history of Calluna vulgaris and the origins of the brand Beauty Ladies, followed by a visit to the nursery and trial field.

The afternoon was spent at Gasa, Germany, where Jesper Holmgaard explained how Gasa strives to bring nature to people by adding value to the product, offering services such as labeling, and working closely with the growers. Jens Hermansen highlighted the pros and cons of dropshipping and shared how the company ensures the logistics for online plant orders via webshops such as Blume 2000. Lars Rose-Hansen showed how consumer segmentation and category management can contribute to increased sales. Understanding both the customer and the store will be instrumental for future commercial success.

The visit was concluded with a guided tour through the facility, where the group observed the order preparation and logistics, followed by a short demonstration of the packaging belt in the Dümmen Orange distribution center located in the same building.

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