UK horticulture companies are missing out by ignoring export opportunities, British exhibitors at the spoga+gafa show in Cologne said last week.
Solus managing director Nick Davies said: "We've been exporting for four years and are now in 36 countries. This year has been challenging in the UK but we are 150-200 per cent up on export. If you have unique products lots of markets are hungry."
Gardenex commercial manager Charlie Parker, who led the British contingent at the 1,700-exhibitor show, said exporting makes industries become more efficient. "The UK has 60 million people and smaller and smaller gardens. There's a world of opportunity out there."
While Chinese exhibitors dominated the spoga+gafa show and will have an increased presence at Glee in Birmingham on 19-21 September, Parker said: "There is Far Eastern competition but I detect a trend in the US away from always just getting the cheapest Chinese products to looking to garden centres in the USA and Europe for quality."
Davies added that the British feel of Solus's Joseph Bentley tools and Chapelwood had led to those brands being best for export. He added: "The bulk is going to Russia and Australia, Japan and the USA. You have to be geared internally and be prepared to work at exporting. The more you put in the more you get out. You have to prove you can deliver."
Parasene business development manager Matt Evans said: "Britain's name is famous in gardening for craftsmanship." Parasene's new products included a pop-up flower house glasshouse that B&Q will sell at £99 and instant hedge/screening in a bag at £20-£80, which it also hoped B&Q will sell.
21 - The number of exhibitors reported by Gardenex at spoga+gafa this year.