As the world’s largest flower exporter, it is no surprise that the Netherlands was present at the largest international trade show in the industry of floriculture, horticulture and gardening in China: Hortiflorexpo.
Taking place from 10 to 12 May, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands had a 630 m² Holland Pavillion together with more than 30 companies.
Besides participation in the fair, the agricultural bureau of the Netherlands Embassy organized a seminar. Titled Dutch Sustainable Modernization in an Innovative and Green Way, it was again an occasion to show Dutch expertise, innovations and technology to a Chinese public. Later in the evening, there was a reception at the embassy for Chinese and Dutch horticulture companies. Talking about horticulture events that the embassy organized, these were among the biggest and most important.
HORTICULTURE IN CHINA
The agri- and horticulture sector in China used to largely be in the hands of small scale, low-tech farms with low production figures per m². However, in recent years Chinese and foreign investors are looking at modern agriculture, especially greenhouse horticulture. Both investors and growers are eager to apply modern technology and use plant varieties developed for the Chinese market by Western breeding companies.
During the network reception, Ambassador Ed Kronenburg mentioned that a symbolic bouquet of tulips was presented to President Xi Jinping during the Dutch Royal Couple’s visit in February. In his eyes, the exchange of flowers reminds us how important the hortiflor sector is for the Sino-Dutch relationship.
The horticulture sector was also highlighted during the mission with Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality Carola Schouten and Prime Minister Mark Rutte in April. What are other ways in which China and the Netherlands work together in this sector? Which recent developments have there been on the Chinese market? We asked these questions and more to Managing Director mr. Marco van Herk of Kunming Anthura Horticulture, a breeder of orchid and anthurium pot plants and cut flowers. They also participated in the mission in April and signed a MoU.
How long have you been active in China?
“We have been active in China since 1995 and paid our first visit in 1991.”
Which products to you offer the Chinese market?
“For the Chinese market we produce young plant material of Anthurium with our local production hub in Kunming. This flower is popular in China because of its color, vase life and air purifying possibilities.”
What are important developments for horticulture in China?
“The Chinese market is developing very fast and that is what we like about it. We believe that flowers and plants will be sold online directly to the consumer in the future. This is a good thing because we are dealing with a fresh product. Furthermore, the development of bigger cities creates a larger demand for green plants and flowers around urban residents. Flowering plants like Anthurium and Phalaenopsis can contribute very well to this since they are easy to maintain and long lasting.”
Which next steps is Anthura taking on the Chinese market?
“We are talking to Dutch and Chinese officials about breeder rights which will help to develop a more modern agricultural sector. We also want to introduce modern Dutch greenhouse techniques in our company in Kunming and at our local growers. We all will benefit from agricultural products which are grown with less fossil fuels and as few pesticides as possible.”
What opportunities are there for Dutch horticulture companies in China?
“There is more than enough interest and support which creates a lot of room for cooperation. Dutch companies can show Chinese counterparts how to use more advanced technology effectively and ways to apply it to large scale production. Furthermore, it is important to make agreements together, so that both companies respect each other’s technologies and knowledge. We need to work towards long-term goals, not short-term profit.”