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Gediflora

Gediflora
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Gediflora is a global player in the breeding and production of chrysanthemums. ‘Our guarantee of uniformity is a great strength’, emphasises Manager Elien Pieters. ‘Our main activity is the production of young plants. However, we want to stay in touch with the market and promote chrysanthemums ourselves. That is why we commercialise our broad range of products with unique varieties and families under the brand name Belgian Mums®, whereby ‘mum’ refers to the abbreviation of chrysanthemum.’
 

‘My father taught me to dream, think, dare, do and persevere. And that’s the principle that I want to have flowing through our everyday operations. It helps us to remain innovative and solve problems creatively.’ Elien Pieters - Manager

History
In 1952 vegetable grower Georges Pieters switched from growing lettuce and tomatoes to growing and propagating chrysanthemums in pots. Love, dedication and enthusiasm fairly soon took his company to a high level. In 1982, his son Dirk Pieters took over the company and together with his wife Christine developed Gediflora further. From then on, the company focussed entirely on breeding and propagating pot chrysanthemums. In 1991 their first own commercial varieties were launched on the market. Since 2013 the third generation has been at the helm: daughter Elien Pieters is the new Manager of Gediflora and together with her husband David Daenens she is determined to keep Gediflora at the top of the most important pot chrysanthemum breeding and propagation companies.

Breeding, the beating heart
A total of 3 ha glasshouses and 14 ha trial and production fields form the habitat for a motivated team of 38 permanent workers. ‘Our focus lies on breeding chrysanthemums; we are very critical before we accept a new variety in our range’, Elien emphasises. ‘Thus every year we test around 30,000 seedlings in our trial fields. We then make a selection so that we keep only the best plants. And only if the plant has withstood a number of test years well is it brought onto the market as a fully-fledged production variety. We organise various rounds of testing for each newcomer, so that it takes about seven years before a seedling becomes available as a commercial variety. Every year this yields us 5 to 10 new varieties. And to offer beautiful, uniform batches, we commit to strict and strong hygiene measures’, accentuates Elien.

Cuttings
‘We do our own production and selection of seedlings in Belgium. For the cuttings we call on partners from Brazil, Africa and America, who produce cuttings non-stop between mid January and mid July. The cuttings arrive here in cooled transport and we immediately carry out a thorough quality inspection on them. We sell about 30% of these cuttings without roots; we let the remaining 70% grow roots here in glue plugs in about two to three weeks. This permits handling without the plug breaking and thus interrupting growth’, Elien clarifies. ‘In addition, this type of glue plug makes mechanical potting possible.’

Guaranteed quality
Gediflora obtained the certificate of the Naktuinbouw (Netherlands Inspection Service for Horticulture) Elite system that makes top quality and added value recognisable amongst propagators and breeders. ‘Within the MPS qualification system we achieve the top score time and again. We have been an official MPS-GAP certificated company since 2015,‘ says a proud Elien.

Sustainability
‘We really focus on sustainable production. In addition to the obvious collection of drainwater, we have solar panels and we recently also started recovering the residual heat of the incinerator in Roeselare’, Elien summarises. ‘But we do more than that. We are the founding father of Benefits of nature, in which horticultural companies can calculate their carbon footprint’, Elien says proudly.

Belgian Mums
Gediflora’s range is marketed under the name Belgian Mums®. ‘The name was chosen by analogy with ‘chrysanthemum’ and as a reference to our Belgian roots. The main features of the Belgian Mums are the unique genetics, the uniform flowering, the beautiful round shape, the top plant quality, the plant’s flexibility and the high resistance to disease. Thanks to these unique properties, Belgian Mums guarantees the grower quality and a higher return. After all, these are varieties that are easy to grow, they require less labour and there is an increased likelihood of selling 100%’, Elien concludes.

In touch with the market thanks to own production
‘Our core activity is breeding, but to stay in touch with the market and the end product, we also grow a limited number of chrysanthemums ourselves. In this way we keep our plant know-how up-to-date and we can also put additional emphasis on the promotion and marketing of the chrysanthemum as an end product’, explains Elien. ‘In this way we can immediately see how the market reacts to our products.’

Company in figures

  • Employees:

    • 2 managers

    • 38 permanent workers

    • +/- 40 seasonal workers.

  • Company surface area

    • 10 ha soil

    • 4 ha container field in the open air

    • 3 ha glasshouse.

  •  Export: >90% of the turnover

    • USA & Canada: 38% of the cuttings

    • Europe: 44%

      • Netherlands: 27.8% of the European market

      • Belgium: 18.2% of the European market

      • Germany: 16.2% of the European market

      • France: 11.5% of the European market

      • The other 26.2% of the European market is divided amongst Scandinavia, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Hungary, etc.

    • 14% rest of the world.

  • Number of varieties

    • 140 commercial varieties for the European market

    • 100 commercial varieties for the American and Canadian market