Plant nurseries in the Algarve are in "critical situation" and are asking for government support

Companies only invoiced 10% of what would be normal in recent weeks

The large producers of ornamental plants in the Algarve are going through a "critical situation" due to the Covid-19 crisis and are asking the Ministry of Agriculture for "non-refundable support for withdrawing from the market, to compensate for the destruction of production".

José Dâmaso, director of Viveiros Monterosa, in a note sent to the newsrooms, explains that «the Viveiros Monterosa, Viplant, Bayflor, Citrina and Flores Pendulares are the main exporters of ornamental plants in our country, generating around 30 million euros of wealth for the Algarve region and employing 500 mostly permanent workers. These companies supply the main wholesalers, garden center chains and florists in Europe, and also play an important role in supplying the national market».

However, "with the main export markets blocked, namely France, Holland, Germany, England and Spain, producers are unable to sell their product, earning in the last two weeks approximately 10% of what would be normal".

José Damaso

The same is happening in sales on the national market, since «the period of March-May is for the Mediterranean plant sector as June-August is for tourism», says José Dâmaso. These companies "make 75% of their annual turnover in spring".

Ornamental plants are a perishable product with a very short sale time. «Usually, after they are ready, they should be shipped within a maximum period of two to three weeks, otherwise they will no longer have the quality required by our customers and we have to throw them in the “trash”», says José Dâmaso.

In recent days, these companies “have already started to destroy unsaleable plants and do their math. If the situation continues, they estimate to lose around 12 million euros in the coming weeks».

José Dâmaso emphasizes that this sector has a “particularity”, since “producers cannot temporarily close. Plant production is continuous. If we stop, in addition to the short term, we will be compromising sales in the medium and long term, as we have already started the production of plants to be placed on the market in the second half of this year, as well as part of those in the spring of 2021».

These companies, some of which have been in existence for nearly half a century, "are doing everything in their power to keep their activities afloat and secure the many jobs."

However, for José Dâmaso, “the various support measures launched recently by the Government are insufficient. In addition to the short-term treasury support already launched, these producers urgently need, on the part of the Ministry of Agriculture, the creation of non-repayable support for withdrawal from the market to compensate for the destruction of production. Otherwise, we will be postponing the crisis, as companies will have a structural problem», he concludes.