HortiTrends Weekly Comment & News Digest Jan 12th

HortiTrends Logo

What does 2012 hold for horticulture? That all depends on whether you are on the ornamental or edible side. Edible seems to be thriving by all accounts. That does not mean that they are having an easy ride as pressure remains on the sector from imports and the negotiating of prices with the multiples. With today’s profit warning form Tesco you can be sure that there will be more pressure brought to bear on growers. No matter what their pronouncement’s about the customer are, we all should know “It’s all about the shareholders really”. The £3 billion (now £5 billion) wiped off the share value will have to be found somewhere. More efficiencies (the nice term) for the grower? The idea that government’s can control the multiples and how they deal with producers is probably fanciful. I was at a fruit forum conference recently, which as an example focused on the supply chain for ‘Pink Lady’ apples. The Tesco representative showed diagrams and maps which displayed that they were ready for all eventualities. Hurricanes, wars etc. Ask the Dublin Meath growers who in 2008 had invested millions in the supply chain into Tesco only to have the rug pulled from under them in 2009. The government needs to offer more protections to grower’s as we race to our FoodHarvest 2020 targets. For what?

Ornamental horticulture is in the final recovery stages of the shell-shock that was visited on us all in 2007/2008. Recovery to something normal. In the landscape sector it is hard to say what the levels of employment are now, both official and black-market. The sector was an obvious choice for many with redundancy payments or not, to start a little business with. There were many job losses in the mainstream companies serving that sector. There is now interest from abroad in this skilled labour base and we have had approaches from two companies in different countries about large scale sourcing and hiring of Irish staff for the obvious reasons of language compatibility along with a high level of trained skilled horticulture workforce. There is also certainly some activity in the garden centre sector with a number of both on-line and bricks and mortar stores due for opening in 2012. John Stanley looks ahead for that sector in 2012 A Year of Change…My Top Ten Changes

It is a very different landscape for business now but anyone who is still out there will have rebuilt theirs based on the reality of this new market and any potential risks such as a ‘Double Dip’ scenario should be well planned for. Irish businesses are taking more cautious and smaller steps to success. For those of you with an exciting idea the deadline for ‘Innovation Vouchers’ is fast approaching Innovation Voucher Deadline 16th January. In the meantime keep checking back for the latest news and trends. We will be at Viveralia – Professional Exhibition of Ornamental Plants in Spain next week trying to account more for the ‘Trends’ in HortiTrends. We will have a show report from there next week.

Thank you.

Joseph (Editor at HortiTrends)