Levi: ”The cost of lilies is shooting up. Yet grower Levi Evers sees opportunities.”
The cost of lilies is shooting up. Yet grower Levi Evers sees opportunities.
The crisis in the energy market means our work as lily growers is in considerable flux. After all, a large proportion of our costs are linked to the price of energy. The production costs for our lilies are skyrocketing – up to 10 times the normal price. Luckily we have a long-term strategy and long-term energy contracts. That’s great for the time being. You could say we’re lucky. But what will things be like in a few months’ time? The lilies must remain affordable and be produced in the long term as well.
Is there a positive side to the energy market crisis?
Something that we have wanted for years is now finally getting off the ground: long-term agreements with our exporters about regular purchases of their lilies. These agreements give us reliability of supply. That also provides reassurance further down the supply chain, at the florist.
Usually people switch rapidly, since flowers are always in stock. In the morning you have a range of options. But that daily certainty is now being shaken. The current energy challenges could mean that we won’t have any flowers in due course. That uncertainty means that everyone is being forced to make long-term choices.
We’re not offering a definitive answer
What you’re seeing is that the contact with our customers has changed 100% in recent months. Our discussions are suddenly far more intensive. Often we’re not just meeting with buyers, but also with board members: the whole company is getting involved. Don’t think that we can immediately offer a definitive answer. And that’s not what it’s about. For us, long-term agreements are important.
In touch with the whole supply chain
Agreements with customers are all about certainty: you can’t build on ‘perhaps’. So if we can be sure that we will receive bulbs from our regular suppliers, that’s great. Just as it is good for our exporters to have certainty that they will receive their flowers. Everyone wants to stay in business, and that forces us to think about the choices that we make. You need commitment on both sides so that you stay in touch with the whole supply chain. Long-term agreements provide security for our business. And for our partners, we are a stable and secure supplier offering quality in both summer and winter.
You need one another in uncertain times
During this challenging period, people are talking a lot about problems. Tensions are rising, and you find that you need one another in these uncertain times. Flower production is threatened in the long term. If nurseries produce fewer flowers, the market will shrink. At times like this when things are stressful and businesses are feeling squeezed, you find out who is genuinely choosing the long-term option.
Thinking in terms of opportunities
We are young and ambitious, and like to think in terms of opportunities. If there’s a problem, we see whether we can resolve it together. For us it is now becoming clear who we can work with going forward. That is why we see the problems in the energy market as an opportunity whereby we can help one another.
Energy transition accelerating
I cannot influence the energy price. But I can influence the consumption of energy. The energy transition therefore needs to be speeded up, and at the moment it’s all hands on deck. With us that involves the move from traditional lighting, where you literally switch the light on, to LED. Then the lily receives the right amount of light at every stage of growth. There are also ways of retaining heat in the greenhouse with extra energy screens. We are also looking at bigger changes, such as the use of a geothermal heat pump.
100% confidence in the future
I can see decent prospects and there are many possibilities, and that requires time and budget. Partly thanks to the close collaboration with our customers, I have 100% confidence in the future.
Levi Evers (26) studied Horti Technics & Management and is co-owner of Bredefleur.