Dutch chrysanthemum and tulip exports to Russia blooming
Amidst the sanctions and export bans, numerous products are prohibited from being exported to Russia, including energy equipment and technology, maritime navigation products, and luxury items such as watches and jewellery. However, one important product that remains in high demand in Russia was excluded from the list: cut flowers.
Last year, cut flower exports to Russia generated around 9.4 million euros in revenue for EU producers. The flower trade has not been sanctioned by Western countries following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Renowned for its iconic flower fields, the Netherlands is globally recognised for its tulips, so it comes as little surprise that approximately 30 per cent of the cut flowers shipped to Russia originate from this Western European country. Despite a slight increase in the price of Dutch flowers, they continue to be in high demand, according to Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet, citing Euronews. A Russian flower shop owner told the news portal that flowers from Kenya, Ecuador, and Colombia are somewhat more affordable.
Price hikes are partly due to the ban on Russian lorries to enter Europe, so deliveries must be arranged by the growers.
Rising fuel costs are also driving up the price of cut flower, but demand for flowers imported from the Netherlands remains high in Russia.
The Netherlands accounts for roughly 60 per cent of the global flower trade. In Europe, Dutch exports represent more than 80 per cent of all EU flower exports. Approximately 1.7 billion cut flowers are produced in the country every year and are primarily sold on the European market, but several Russian florists receive flower deliveries from the Netherlands twice a week. Figures from previous years show that about six per cent of Dutch tulips were sold in Russia.
However, only cut flowers are exempt from sanctions against Russia. A Dutch rose bush could not be delivered to Russia as punitive measures do not allow EU countries to export flower bulbs or nursery stock products to Russia. The justification for this is the idea that the Russians could grow these plants, while the lifespan of cut flowers is limited.