MARKETING CUT FLOWERS AND POTPLANTS IN BELGIUM
In 1969 the production of cut flowers represented 16% and that of ornamental plants 58% of the total production of non-edible horticultural products. As in the majority of the Common Market countries, these industries are making considerable developments in Belgium. In fact, the production of cut flowers went from 103 million FB in 1950 to 505 million FB in 1969, in other words an increase of 380%. Although the rate of mean annual growth in this sector was relatively feeble from 1950 to 1960 (± 4.5%), it is presently at about 15% of the 1960 production.
With ornamental plants production went from 290 million FB in 1950 to 1.800 million FB in 1969, representing an increase of 520%. At present this production increases annually by 125 million FB, that is to say by 20% of the 1960 level.
It is evident that the continued increasing growth of production in both these sectors will require adaptations to the systems of commercialization.
We must point out first of all that cut flowers and potted plants are sold commercially through totally different circuits, although they come together in the retail outlets. This is due to the specific nature of the products, and their highly specialized cultivation. On the other hand, the amount of direct supplies also has an influence on commercial circuits. Thus, almost the entire production of cut flowers in Belgium is destined for the home market which, being in short supply, is forced to go to the foreign market for 10% of its requirements.
The situation is totally different with ornamental plants, where 85% of the azaleas and about 65% of the other ornamental plants are sent to foreign markets.
Over the years the wholesale trade in cut flowers has become an important source of supply for the retail florist. However, it is important to point out that numerous florist shops still get their supplies directly from the producers. An enquiry carried out in 1965/66 by the Institute of Agricultural Economy study group surveying the markets for non-edible horticultural products, showed that of a total of 224 florist shops interviewed, 116 florist shops regularly got their supplies of cut flowers at producers' auctions, whilst only 104 shops went regularly to wholesale suppliers and 16% of the retailers interviewed sold flowers of their own production.
As regards the Belgian market for potted plants, which is supplied almost exclusively by home production, the same survey showed that the auctions were of secondary importance. Of the 225 interviewed, 109 shops went regularly to the wholesale dealers, whilst 110 shops went