Plantenkweker Aad Scheffers

Countdown to Brexit begins: ‘English people are storing plants en masse’

The transition period for which the British and businesses can prepare will end on December 31. The UK will withdraw from the European Union on January 1, but before that, the EU and the UK have yet to agree on a number of issues. This mainly relates to the import and export of goods where procedures have to be followed, there are customs procedures and possibly duties imposed.

“In fact, nothing has changed compared to last year,” says farmer Aad Scheffers from Poeldijk, who exports about 30 to 40 percent of his plants to the UK. The farmer points to the fact that there is still no agreement between the UK and the European Union. The fear is now growing that this will not be there from 1 January. The result: chaos where cargo traffic stops and planes cannot land in London or European capitals.


According to the farmer in Westland, that mess has already begun. “The British are striking en masse, because no one knows what will happen after January 1. As a result, there are already huge traffic jams from trucks coming from Europe in the Calais Tunnel. The longer waiting time at customs is, of course, not good for my plants, which should be In the store it is as fresh as possible.

Additionally, the farmer faces contracts being served. For example, I have a deal with a large English retailer that had to deliver in the first week. Yesterday I got a call inquiring if it could be week 53, to avoid that date on January 1st. But Aad Plants aren’t ready for that at all. It should have three flowers on it; I won’t get over it. It takes a lot of research to find the right plants. But I’m talking about it, because I’m also not sure what to expect after December 31st. So I basically think: Gone Gone.

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The farmer mainly fears his sales to England will drop. I fear this for two reasons. First, I anticipate problems due to all kinds of tight customs rules. On the other hand, because the products stay in the car for a long time. But it also applies: if the paperwork is not in order, your products simply will not enter England.

In addition, I hold my heart for what will happen to the British pound. If I start to decline, my plants will be much more expensive and that will undoubtedly have consequences for my sales. The world is big, so of course we’ll look for other sales niches, but it won’t be one, two, or three.


However, there are also Westland farmers who are more positive about Brexit. Lugt Lisianthus in the movie Monster, for example. “We export 15 percent to England,” says Marcel van der Lugt. This is seriously much. But we expect it to stay that way. The export process will take a little longer in the first months and there will be adjustments in procedures, but I don’t think people will end up purchasing fewer flowers.

Lugt Lisanthus has the advantage that it sells a fairly exclusive product. “There may be more uncertainty for other farmers,” Marcel admits. Aad Scheffers particularly hopes there will soon be clarity: bargain or no deal. Because we still do not know anything. I can really get excited about that. They leave the people directly involved insecure for too long.

The coming days will be crucial for Britain’s exit from the European Union. The European Commission president sees another path to the Brexit deal. According to Ursula von der Leyen, this path is very narrow. She stressed that the coming days will be crucial in negotiations on future relations between the European Union and the United Kingdom.

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