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Updates about the Horticulture Wales project, along with industry news and opinion.

Collaborative Working Seminar Brings Ornamental Growers Together

20 September 2013

Increasing sales, cutting distribution and purchasing costs, and improving marketing were the key issues discussed by a meeting arranged to help forge closer working partnerships between ornamental growers in South West Wales.

Simon Michaels hosted Horticulture Wales ornamental meetingMore than a dozen commercial growers from across Pembrokeshire, Carmarthenshire, and Ceredigion attended a special session hosted by Horticulture Wales to gauge the interest in setting up a regional co-operative or similar model of collaborative working. 

The afternoon workshop at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on 16 September was headed up by collaborative business consultant Simon Michaels of f3. It saw business owners ranging from herb, daffodil, and alpine plant growers through to producers of cut flowers and Christmas trees debate some of the major challenges they face as small-scale growers in a fiercely competitive market, as well as exploring how they may be able to benefit from working together.

One of the core issues the gathering discussed was the often prohibitive cost of transportation and delivery, particularly with growers who predominantly sell direct to individual customers, rather than to wholesalers or retailers. Attendees also raised the difficulties they often face buying input materials, stock, or equipment as individual organisations – a problem that could possibly be overcome by joint-purchasing agreements – as well as highlighting the importance of establishing, and capitalising on, their own USPs and ‘points of difference’ compared to large-scale producers.

Further meetings of the group are set to be staged throughout the coming weeks, where the principles and practicalities of collaborative working will be developed.

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