Are you benefiting from the strength of the euro?

HW asked several exhibitors at Eastgro how the rising value of the euro was affecting their business.

NO, Mike Abel, business development manager, Agralan

"The euro hasn't helped. Anything from the euro-zone is more expensive, around 20 per cent more.

"Agralan markets bio-control products from Belgian firm Biobest, so our prices have to go up because of the euro. It's not as dramatic as the rise in the cost of steel and nitrogen-based fertilisers. The price of fertilisers is up by 200-300 per cent. Our plastic-based products, such as our protective fleece, have gone up in price too. Fortunately though, not everything comes from the eurozone. Our pheromone traps, for example, are made in the UK."

MAYBE, John Huibers, managing director/owner, Tamar Nurseries

"There has been a downturn in enquiries. But the conversion rate has been much higher - we haven't lost sales yet.

"The economic climate is not as bad as the media leads people to believe. We've started exporting, and have sent a few arctics to Holland and Belgium. We can take advantage of Dutch haulage companies coming over with no return loads. As buying in liners from Europe is more expensive, we may start our own propagation again. This is why I was going to build a new glasshouse, but I'm holding off for the moment because of the economic situation."

YES, Mike Harper, managing director, Poplar Nurseries

"Because the pound is so weak against the euro, more people who would have bought in Holland have started buying from England. This is especially true when it comes to fruit trees, and with the grow-your-own trend as well, there will be a shortage of pears this year.

"The Dutch will struggle quite a bit this year. Their prices are up by 15 per cent because of the difference between the pound and the euro. But there isn't so much doom and gloom in the UK horticultural market. People don't move if there is a recession and will spend on gardens."

MAYBE, Stuart Andrews, account manager for the East, John Woods Nurseries.

"More people are interested in UK-grown stock. We've seen an increase in the number of garden-centre customers mentioning the expense of buying Dutch and we are seeing less Dutch vans coming over. But, despite being able to take advantage of this situation, the Dutch prices were so cheap before the euro went up and we buy liners from France, Germany and other countries in the eurozone.

"We are affected like everyone by the rising costs of fuel, pots and fertilisers, but have done well with the new John Woods name. People may also spend more on plants than on holidays in this difficult climate."


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