Overseas trade changed by exchange rate

UK exhibitors at IPM Essen trade fair in Germany report that they are having to offer incentives to keep their exports going.

IPM Essen: industry trade fair - image: HW
IPM Essen: industry trade fair - image: HW

Unfavourable export exchange rates are leading to UK growers changing how they do business overseas.

At IPM in Germany, Fairweather's Nursery owner Patrick Fairweather was among UK exhibitors who said they have to offer incentives to keep exports going.

He said a challenge is the length of the production cycle for his plants, which include agapanthus, with commitments needed now despite the weak euro.

"You've got to be in for the long haul and now it is long haul with challenging exchange rates so we're going to have to help some customers with short-term discounts," said Fairweather. "We will have to price in euros from pricing in sterling based on whatever rate the bank gives us for a 12-month period this summer."

David Austin Roses export representative Aivar Mirseps said Russia and Ukraine are "disaster" areas for exporters.

Mr Fothergill's Seeds joint managing director David Carey said the company is in a good position as a net euro buyer but exports, particularly to Russia, are "tough".

Plants for Europe owner Graham Spencer said the euro royalty is worth less to UK growers, the speed of the change in the euro has been a surprise and uncertainty in the eurozone is not helpful.

De Jong representative Jos De Jong said the euro versus the pound is "pretty attractive" but EU rules forcing shipping firms to buy expensive low-emission fuel are damaging. De Jong is supplying Gardening Express, Dobbies, Wyevale, Squire's and Notcutts via Javado.

Gez Smith, senior buyer at membership shopping club JTF, was also at IPM. He said he is "jumping on" continental plants as the exchange rate drops.

JTF's key European distributors are Go Green and De Jong, and all stock comes into JTF via Nostell Priory Roses. The shopping club is 26 per cent up on gardening in the financial year to date, which ends on 31 March.

JTF is launching its vision for eight or nine garden centres at its 13 sites at a meeting with strategic suppliers including Westland, Apollo, Horizon, Priory Roses, Landmann and managers.

Fairweather's said Europe's mood is "resilient" despite economic issues.

IPM awards Winners claim prizes at show

A solution to the box blight crisis has won the woody plants and Show Me Your Colours awards at IPM. Bloombux is a rhododendron bred by John Stolwijk's as a replacement for Buxus hedging that can be cut and has the bonus of flowers. A three-litre pot is EUR5.90.

The Hydrangea macrophylla Music Collection by De Jong Plant from the Netherlands took second place. Third place went to the floating plants by R Moerings, also from the Netherlands.Other winners were Leucanthemum hosmariensis hybrid 'African Rose' by Kientzler, Bidens Hybrid Beedance 'Red + Eye' by Moerheim, Boronia heterophylla 'Lipstick' by EPS and Pennisetum alopecuroides 'Hameln Gold' by Cultivaris North America.

The IPM Innovation Award went to phytho foamer from Knecht/Menno Chemie and DH Licht's MGR-E and MGR-K lamps.

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