Exporters are doing better in the current market than companies that do not export, according to a garden export federation.
Commercial Horticultural Association (CHA) secretary Chris Wood, who made the claim, said smaller nurseries should “take the plunge” and break into the European market: “There is no better time for nurseries to start exporting.”
The consensus at the South West Regional Growers Show, held last week in Exeter, was that exporting works for some but is difficult for smaller nurseries to organise.
HDC technical manager Lindrea Latham said many nurseries hope that a 15 per cent production cut in 2006 will increase prices, but “exporting may be a way around this for some nurseries”.
Exporting makes up 10 per cent of Kent-based Oakover Nurseries’ annual turnover. Managing director Brian Fraser said: “We do not see big fluctuations in our turnover because if the market is bad in the UK we always have Europe to fall back on.” He attributes the success of his exports to location and “steering away” from high-volume basic material.
Horticultural product manufacturer Lows of Dundee has exported to Ireland and Belgium for 10 years. Area sales manager Nigel Guffogg believes it has boosted the firm’s turnover in the current market.
Levy income at the HDC, which is directly related to the turnover of nurseries, rose by five per cent from 2003 to 2004 but is forecast to decrease by two per cent in 2005.
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