Greenhouse horticulture: from Brexit and Corona to unification

Greenhouse horticulture: from Brexit and Corona to unification

Greenhouse horticulturists have been looking at the approaching Brexit with fear and trembling for years, and then suddenly the Corona pandemic arrived. According to Royal Brinkman General Manager Ton van Mil, this means shifting from a strategic perspective to a practical one. “In the end it turned out to be better than expected,” he says at BNR Zakendoen.

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According to Van Mill, there was initially a shock reaction to the coronavirus for 3 to 5 months with a loss of turnover of between 5 and 10 percent. The company overcame this by cutting costs and delaying investments. Ultimately, the company said it managed to book a successful year. “It turns out that things are fine in the end.”

The same goes for Brexit. Although the deadline was long, Van Miller was not able to correctly anticipate Brexit. The damage has been somewhat limited to our company, and 3 to 5 per cent of our sales come from the UK. Lots of paperwork added.

Competition from China and Russia

Countries like China and Russia are increasingly focusing on greenhouse horticulture now that food is an increasingly strategic product. When asked by Van Mille, he said he is not afraid that these players will take over the industry. Nor is he afraid of imparting knowledge. It mainly sees opportunities for farmers who want to internationalize, as well as for the Dutch horticulture industry, including supply companies such as greenhouse builders.

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China and Russia will do that anyway, let’s be there with our technology. China could build hundreds of hectares of greenhouses with all the trimmings, would they copy this technology? How long can we and do we want to do it ourselves and on what basis of cooperation do we do this? Van Mill admits that China is a bloc of great power, but when asked about his doubt that a country like China will cultivate horticulture around the world.


Van Mille sees a clear trend towards monotheism. Many private equity players and strategic investors have become active in the industry. We are also contacted regularly. This does not change the fact that the focus arises where the smaller businesses are taken over. And yes, Van Mil also has a list in his pocket with companies that he finds interesting.

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