‘Breeders do contribute to sustainable floriculture’

The recently in The Netherlands launched Floriculture Sustainability Initiative (FSI) is an international coalition of major players in the flower sector, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders, aiming to mainstream sustainability in the sector. By joint commitments and pre-competitive cooperation the FSI wants to contribute to greater sustainability in the floriculture and to create a more level playing field for producers, wholesalers and retail. Participants are among others export companies as Dutch Flower Group, FleuraMetz and the flower auction FloraHolland. Also the international flower trade association Union Fleurs is involved, as well as the organizations Fair Flowers Fair Plants, MPS, Rainforest Rescue International, and WWF Kenya.
In the list no names of breeders or breeder organizations pop up. When asked director Niels Louwaars of Plantum, the Dutch association for the plant reproduction material sector (including breeding, propagation, production and trade) states that breeders contribute highly to the sustainability FSI aims. He refers for instance to the breeding of healthier, more resistant varieties, which can be grown with much less or even without pesticides. “Companies also contribute to a sustainable floriculture by delivering clean, disease-free starting material”, he adds. But Plantum does not only focus on floriculture, but also on the propagation, production and trade of vegetable seeds, or young plants. The great diversity of its members does not make Plantum to an obvious partner in the FSI-project. “However, if breeding companies are not mentioned in this context, it does not mean that they don’t play an important role in realising the FSI aims”, says Louwaars.