Sunday 04 December 2022

World’s biggest orchid grower call it quits over high gas prices


The world’s biggest orchid grower SO Natural is being forced to stop growing blooms because of mounting gas prices, RTL Nieuws reports.

The family business, based in Moerkapelle in Zuid Holland, was started in the 1950s by Hendrik Smaal and taken over by his five sons in the 1990s. The company eventually produced over 14 million orchids a year for supermarkets and shops across Europe.

But despite substantial investments, new owner Watertoren Hazerswoude is now pulling the plug on the heat intensive orchid trade.

‘The viable growing of orchids is no longer possible with current and future gas prices. The business will be sold off over the next few years,’ the company said in documents deposited at the Chamber of Trade two weeks ago.

It is not clear what will happen to the 200 workers at SO Natural, RTL Nieuws said. The company and owner have both declined to comment.

Last month, one of the Netherlands’ biggest plant breeding companies said it will close its doors for good at the end of March next year because of the impact of high energy prices on greenhouse-based cultivation.

Plantise, which specializes in growing vegetables and decorative plants will shut down its Dutch operations on April 1, 2023, with the loss of 200 permanent and 200 flexible jobs.

Experts predict the high gas prices will lead to a major shakeout in the Dutch greenhouse and horticultural sector.

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