Best Practice: Ascania-Flora
How Dutch expertise can provide an edge over competitors
Every month, the Embassy presents an example of successful Ukrainian-Dutch cooperation in business. This month features cut flower producer Ascania-Flora.
Introduction to the company
Ascania-Flora is the leading rose growing company in Ukraine, with a market share of around 60% in cut flower production. The company started its business in 2000 with 2.4 ha of old type greenhouses. Currently, the company grows over 35 varieties of roses on an indoor surface of 22.3 ha.
In 2003, company management took the decision to increase production capacity. A new, modern greenhouse complex of 20 ha was built near the village of Dimitrovo, making use of the newest Dutch technologies. The greenhouse complex was put into operation in the period of 2004 to 2007.
The work of the company has been acknowledged both nationally and internationally. In 2013, the company was awarded the title of “Agricultural business of the year” in the Ukrainian national business ranking.
The Dutch Link
Currently, Ascania-Flora successfully cooperates with over fifteen Dutch companies. Among these are well known rose breeders such as De Ruiter Innovations B.V., Olij rozen, Lex+, Terra Nigra B.V. and Inter Plant Roses. “As is well known, The Dutch are the originators of the technology to grow roses in greenhouses, that’s why we first looked at Dutch companies when we were searching for partners’’, explains Iryna Pinchuk, Marketing Manager of Ascania-Flora.
Not only the reputation of Dutch flower business, but also trade fairs organized by the Netherlands Embassy helped establishing contacts between Ascania-Flora and its Dutch partners. “Thanks to the Netherlands Embassy, our greenhouse complex is regularly visited by delegations from The Netherlands, which helps to establish new business relations”, according to Iryna Pinchuk.
The company buys practically all of its planting stock from Dutch selectors. Ascania-Flora also works with Dutch partners in the fields of agronomy, technology and biological plant protection.
When Ascania-Flora started its business, its partners actively advised on the topic of implementing Dutch technology for growing roses. Ascania-Flora again benefited from the experience of a Dutch partner when the company decided to expand production capacity. Together, the companies successfully took on the challenge of adapting a modern greenhouse complex to the Ukrainian climate.
“Being one of the first companies to implement the newest technology gave Ascania-Flora an edge over its competitors on the Ukrainian market”, sums up Iryna Pinchuk
To conclude, Iryna Pinchuk has some advice for others considering teaming up with a Dutch partner: “Cooperate closely, listen to their advice and gain experience.” This applies to the flower business, as it is “quite a difficult business that demands preparation and a thorough knowledge of agronomic, technical and commercial questions.”
For more information about Ascania-Flora, take a look at the company website www.ascania-flora.ua