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Dutch flower growers feeling pinched in hard times
Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill
AALSMEER – Analysts anticipate that several hundreds of the 5,500 Dutch flower growers will be forced out of business this year. These growers are facing difficulties upgrading their operations at a time when profitability is on the decline, partially due to the unfavourable currency exchange rates of the Russian ruble and the British pound. The current calendar year has been challenging for the flower growers, as sales were down by eight to sixteen percent in the first four months depending on the industry segment while the total volume dropped by four percent. In addition to the economic downturn, the growers also experienced colder than normal temperatures. President Gerrit Ravensbergen of FloraHolland, the cooperative that runs seven auction locations, does not see growers going broke but just quitting the business when they no longer see a future in it. FloraHolland is paring down its budget as well. In 2008, sales of 4.07 billion euros were still up 0.3 percent over the banner year of 2007, but profits dropped by half to 9 million euros.