We’ve almost reached the end of our first year at our phalaenopsis young plant location in Brazil. Until now growers bought material from laboratories because importing cuttings with soil is not allowed. Therefore they had to propagate their own young laboratory plants. More and more growers want to stop this because it is a specialised job. Therefore, we as Sion, decided to try to do that for our clients at a specially equipped location.
Even within one year many changes have occurred. Brazil landed in a crisis and it has become normal to import cuttings in glued plugs from the Netherlands. The crisis has made everyone incredibly careful about making investments and the costs of energy and imports have skyrocketed. Horticulture seems to be riding it all reasonably well. Luckily people still buy a bunch of flowers or a plant. Good quality still gets a very good price but poor quality doesn’t stand a chance. Growers believe that a minimum of 40% of the population has money over for flowers or plants. However, in terms of logistics this group is still insufficient. It still costs the necessary time and money.
From the strong growth in our orders we notice that growers increasingly value the Dutch varieties, planning and quality instead of the cheaper types, mostly from Asian countries.
Because it is now possible to import plugs with cuttings it puts more pressure on us to perform better locally. That is not a problem until the Brazilian summer strikes. A summer with temperatures sometimes up to 40ºC, long-lasting rainfall and humidity often above 90% is another ball game. It seems that many growers have difficulty steering their crops through this. Cutting back on expensive energy is also asking for problems.
Despite the fact that we don’t economise on that and we have a lovely high greenhouse we still have to take extra measures (especially cooling) to counteract it. But we’ll still need a few lessons in the Brazilian climate to come completely faultlessly through the hot summer. Of course we are in a position that we can supplement any shortages with cuttings from the Netherlands. But if everything was so easy then everyone would continue to do it for themselves, wouldn’t they?
Eric Moor, phalaenopsis breeder