COVID-19 pandemic affected the horti supply chain

11-10-2021    08:55   |    Greenhouse Grower

Delays and shortages in the horticulture supply chain look like they will linger over the next few months. However, it’s also important to recognize the broader short- and long-term effects that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the industry.

Editor’s note: This article is part of an online series covering horticulture supply chain issues.

For example, the graphic below, based on results from a question in Greenhouse Grower’s 2021 State of the Industry survey, highlight how concerns have shifted in the wake of COVID-19. The question posed was, “What are the top issues your company is facing now that local economies have opened back up?” Nearly 70% of respondents cited supply chain disruptions, even more than labor shortages, which in any other year would likely have been the top concern.

Another question in the survey was “How did the COVID-19 pandemic affect your spring 2021 sales?” Here’s just a sampling of some of the replies.

  • “Not much, other than we were able to maintain the sales gains from 2020.”
  • “Sales were stronger earlier this year because some customers missed the boat in 2019. They didn’t want to miss out on certain plants and came in earlier to make their purchases.”
  • “We could not grow as planned because we could not find the labor to help in production. We only had enough labor to maintain sales.”
  • “I can’t say for sure, but we were up 35% last year and now we are up another 5%, so I think this is still a result of all the new gardeners.”
  • “We were not able to get items delivered to us from suppliers. No ships, no drivers, etc.”
  • “Season began as everything opened up, so public lost interest in planting.”

In other words, the news was mostly positive, with some concerns about how the rest of the season might shape up.

Now consider the responses to the question “How will COVID-19 affect this industry [short and long term] as you see it?”

  • “Supply chain for materials and equipment.”
  • “I think it has reinvigorated an industry that badly needed that very thing. The online plant ordering phenomenon certainly helped kick things off, but staycations and folks investing more time and money in their own home became much more prevalent. I think things in the short term look great because of that, but am not so sure it can be sustained.”
  • “Increased sales short term. I hope it’s not a hot potato. A lot of greenhouses are increasing production space. I’m not sure that is wise.”
  • “Shortages of supplies. Inflation of costs short term.”
  • “Long term hopefully increased in interest in plants among new customers “
  • “Short term – boosted sales. Long term – recovery from supply shortages.”
  • “Supply chain issues.”
  • “Shipping and availability of production materials.”
  • “I believe this COVID-19 will continue for the next three to five years. There will be many disruptions along the way. Going to be bumps in every aspect of the industry.”
  • “Temporary labor shortages as workers may get sick and/or need to quarantine. Supply chain issues have been ongoing for over 12 months now. Costs are rising. Unsure how much of this is due to COVID.”
  • “Less customer in-person browsing; less money in the economy if it goes south; supply chain difficulties.”

The next questions leading out revolve how we as an industry, and as individual growing operations, can navigate through supply chain issues. In the coming weeks, stay tuned to for more updates on how growers of all crops, sizes, and locations are dealing with the problem, what vendors are telling you to do, and how the industry as a whole is responding.

Source: Greenhouse Grower

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