Dutch plant-growers don’t dig Brexit

Henk Raaijmakers | Marianne Slegers for POLITICO


Dutch plant-growers don’t dig Brexit

The UK’s departure will mean orders take ‘substantially longer’ and cost more, horticulturalists predict.


11/7/18, 12:55 PM CET

Updated 11/8/18, 9:17 AM CET

DEURNE, The Netherlands — In the village of Deurne in the south of the Netherlands, Henk Raaijmakers is not looking forward to Brexit day.

“I am expecting complete chaos at the border,” said the 60-year-old owner of a large plant and tree nursery, “Brexit will be disruptive for my business and the Dutch horticultural sector as a whole.”

At his nursery, big wooden boxes filled to the brim with small blueberry plants in black plastic pots are being made ready for transport. This particular batch will go to Poland but inside the greenhouses tiny shoots of a wide variety of plants are growing until they are big enough to be shipped to the U.K.

Sweet berry honeysuckle, white beam berries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, goji berries: Raaijmakers’ superfood collection is enough to make any tabloid lifestyle editors’ eyes light up. His nursery is also packed with fig trees, azaleas, camelias and much more besides.

Raaijmakers’ company, which he started from scratch in 1982, consists of 2 hectares of greenhouses and 4 hectares of outdoor growing space. He exports nearly three-quarters of his total production to other countries. A quarter goes to the U.K., largely from online sales.

What all this means for gardening-mad Brits is not clear.

Normally a British customer waits three to four days for the plants to arrive.

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