This exhibition has become even more important than it already was

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“It seems that the exhibition will be bigger again, despite all the current challenges in the market,” says Dick van Raamsdonk, General Director of HPP Exhibitions, when talking about the upcoming IFTEX in Nairobi, Kenya, in June (4-6). “The fair’s growth is mainly due to the increasing number of exhibiting growers. We are happy to see this development as it reconfirms that the IFTEX is a true grower-buyer show. It has always been our goal to bring buyers and suppliers of flowers together. Everything around it is also important, but ultimately, it’s about buying and selling cut flowers.”

Dick van Raamsdonk at IFTEX 2023. Click here for the FloralDaily photo report of IFTEX 2023.

Challenges lead to a search for new markets
Van Raamsdonk emphasizes that Kenyan growers are facing significant challenges, such as stricter European requirements for the import of Kenyan flowers. “Kenyan growers are quite concerned as it will have consequences for their growth and their position in this market. This development forces them to look for new markets. An exhibition like IFTEX plays a crucial role in this process, as this show is not only about discovering other types of flowers but also about discovering new markets. Moreover, it will also lead to more direct trade.”

So, there is uncertainty among Kenyan growers. “Entrepreneurs and especially producers dislike uncertainty. Currently, they know which types and varieties are in demand in Europe. However, if they export to another market, they must consider the preferences of that market, which may influence the growers’ assortment. That’s where the IFTEX fair comes in, uncertainty will become one of the main discussion topics during this year’s edition. This exhibition is ideal for anyone who wants to learn more about the Kenyan flower market. Nowadays, this is particularly interesting as we live in turbulent times. Today’s turmoil leads, for instance, to decreased flower consumption in certain markets. In addition, there is competition from the Chinese flower sector, which started to actively produce for their local market, but also started exporting. Furthermore, it must be taken into account that younger generations take a different stance towards flowers. For instance, I read in the newspaper that Generation Z prefers to buy more expensive plastic flowers that last longer. Moreover, the entire market for cut flowers (from production to sale) is influenced by various developments that are related to sustainability and CO2 emissions. Ultimately, IFTEX is a part of the entire production chain; as an exhibition, we need to attract new buyers. If more growers are exhibiting, it is also more interesting for suppliers to visit this fair.

More growers and more diversity
However, Van Raamsdonk does not think that the current developments are the reason for the increasing number of growers at the fair. “I think it mainly has to do with the growth of individual growers. Small growers used to sell flowers to their larger counterparts, who then exported the flowers to them. These small growers have grown and want to export themselves so that they earn more from it. This is an interesting development because the more growers there are, the more interesting the exhibition will be for buyers. I expect that we will have about 180 exhibitors this year; last year, there were about 165.”

In addition, he finds that the increasing number of participating growers is also the result of increasing diversity. “Last year, the diversity of flowers on display was impressive. You almost had to search for the roses, whereas roses used to dominate the fair.” This trend has continued and has intensified. This also has to do with the ongoing trend of creating bouquets on-site, which requires more different flower types. This means that growers who grow flowers in the open field can also supply flowers for bouquets. As a result, they have more trade, and that is also one of the reasons why growers are increasingly exhibiting at the show. This trend has also led to new growers, which is interesting for buyers because they are increasingly looking for different flower types.”

IFTEX 2024
This year, IFTEX will once again take place from Tuesday to Thursday. There’s a specific reason for this: “Our research shows that trade fairs should take place in the middle of the week, as people want to be at home during the weekend. The fair is getting bigger this year, and therefore we are expanding the exhibition area with a large temporary accommodation outdoors. That will surely look beautiful.” In addition, there are also events alongside the fair. “Before the fair starts, there is a conference with growers and other direct stakeholders, this conference is sector-focused and has sustainability as its theme. On the second day of the exhibition, there is a social gathering where people can network while enjoying snacks and drinks.” However, Van Raamsdonk emphasizes that the focus is not on these additional activities. “A good show does not need side activities because its visitors are occupied with the show.” Ultimately, it’s about bringing buyers and growers together. I think it’s going to be a good fair again. At the fair, one can gather a lot of information in a short time. And since we live in turbulent times and information changes quickly, I think this fair has become even more important than it already was.”

For more information:
Dick van Raamsdonk
HPP Worldwide


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