Levi: "Cost of lily is skyrocketing. Still, I see opportunities."
Cost of lily shoots up. Still, grower Levi Evers sees opportunities.
Due to the crisis in the energy market, our work as a lily grower is in considerable flux. After all, a large part of our cost price is tied to energy prices. The production costs of our lilies are shooting through the ceiling, sometimes up to ten times the normal price. Fortunately, we have a long-term strategy and long-term energy agreements. For now, that's nice. You could say we are lucky. But what about in a few months? Even in the long term, lilies must remain affordable and be produced.
Is there a positive effect of the crisis on the energy market?
What we have wanted for years is finally getting off the ground: long-term agreements with our exporters on fixed purchases of their flowers. These agreements give us security of supply. Even further down the chain, at the florist, this ensures peace of mind.
Normally we switch at short notice; after all, flowers are always in stock. In the morning, you have your pick. But that daily security is now taking a hit. Perhaps because of the current energy struggles, we will soon run out of flowers. That uncertainty forces everyone to make long-term choices.
We don't come up with the egg of Columbus
What you see is that contact with our customers has changed 100% since a few months. Our conversations suddenly go much deeper. We often sit down not only with buyers, but also with executives: the entire company sits down. You shouldn't think that we will immediately come up with the egg of Columbus. That's not the point. For us, long-term agreements are important.
In connection with the whole chain
Our agreements with customers are about certainty: no one can build on the word "maybe. So if we can be sure that we will get bulbs from our regular suppliers, that is nice. Just as it is nice for our exporters to have certainty that they will get their flowers delivered. Everyone wants to stay in business and that forces us to think about the choices we make. You need commitment from both sides so that you stay connected to the whole chain. Long-term agreements provide security for our business. And we are a stable and secure supplier for our partners, offering quality in summer and winter.
You need each other in uncertain times
There is a lot of talk about problems during this difficult period. Tension mounts and you notice that you need each other in these uncertain times. In the long run, flower production is at stake. When companies produce fewer flowers, the market shrinks. Now that the need is there and companies are in dire straits, you find out who is really going for the long-term option.
Thinking in terms of opportunities
We are young and ambitious and like to think in terms of opportunities. If there is a problem, we see if we can solve it together. For us, it is now becoming clear with whom we can move forward. Hence we see the problems in the energy market as an opportunity, where you can help each other.
Energy transition gaining momentum
Unfortunately I do not have any influence on the price of energy, but I do have influence on the consumption of energy. The energy transition must therefore be accelerated and at the moment it is all hands on deck. In our case, you have to think about the change from traditional lighting, where you literally turn on the light, to LED. Then the lily gets the right amount of light at every stage of cultivation. There are also ways to retain heat in the greenhouse with additional energy cloths. Furthermore, larger modifications, such as using a geothermal heat pump, are being investigated.
100% confidence in the future
I see plenty of prospects and opportunities, and that takes time and budget. Partly because of the close cooperation with our customers, I am 100% confident about the future.
Levi Evers (26), after graduating from Horti Technics & Management, is co-owner of Bredefleur.