The impact of lockdown on the flower industry’s bottom line

  • 18 September 2020
  • 1158
  • news

In many ways, some sections of the sector have indeed flourished which is reflected in the latest StatsSA update showing that Agriculture, forestry, and fishing had a 0.5% positive contribution to the country’s GDP.

The other side of the coin

For some Agricultural businesses, however, the news has not been so good. One on the hardest hit industries within the agricultural sector has been Floriculture. Restrictions placed on events and mass gatherings had a ripple effect on several businesses across the event supply chain. An entire industry was brought to an abrupt halt overnight and now farmers in the floriculture industry are facing eminent disaster if the restriction on events do not ease soon.

Flower production ranks as one of the most efficient contributors to development and growth in the South African economy. A Department of Agriculture report estimated the value of the local flower market at R240 million with export revenue valued at about R280 million. The labour-intensive industry employs an estimated 17 500 people whose jobs remain on the line until business can resume.

Floriculture is a perishable supply chain which means that farmers have a short timeframe to make maximum profits off their flowers before they wilt. The abrupt lockdown meant tremendous losses for farmers. Parties, functions and weddings were called off and event planners shut down their operations and with that came the cancellation of all orders of flowers. This inevitably meant that farmers would have to discard most of their harvests, losing thousands of rands.

The road to recovery

There is hope that with the expected announcement from the President that the country will move to level 1, restrictions on events will ease and the local market will at least be able to resume full operations again. Until then, the future of the South African floriculture sector hangs in the balance.