Gloomy season ahead for daffodil growers as sales fall

Sales are down by almost 40% despite plenty of crops - and producers say cold storage stockpiling is to blame.

Sales of daffodils in the north east of Scotland are down by almost 40% as a result of cold storage stockpiling.

Some packers are stockpiling the spring flowers in cold storage for weeks, which is driving down the quality of bunches available to shoppers and, in turn, demand.

A sea of golden daffodils blankets the fields at a farmer-owned cooperative near Montrose, Angus.

The crop is good and there are plenty of pickers, but orders are in short supply.

Orders are in short supply despite plenty of pickers.STV News

Grampian Growers director Mark Clark told STV News: “A typical bunch seven years ago was 20 stems; that is now an average of 15. The long-term storage of flowers for two, three, or four weeks is having an impact.

“It feels like the Scottish market is getting squeezed out, and we have fantastic fresh flowers.

“We pick one day, pack the next, and in two days they’re in the supermarket.”

The daffodils picked here hit supermarket shelves in three or four days, but some packers are storing the flowers in cold storage, affecting the quality of the bunches available to shoppers.

“There’s a good percentage of these flowers that won’t open,” Mr Clark added.

“There’s an element of disease. It’s the aspect of long-term storage that is creating this effect of dead or semi-dead flowers.”

A good percentage of daffodils won't open thanks to the disease caused by long-term cold storage.STV News

Packers’ choice to chill daffodils is saturating the market, meaning less demand for those grown in Scotland.

And the worry is that if long-term cold storage continues, the industry here could wilt.

“It’s really damaging to the reputation of what we can produce in this country, which is fantastic quality flowers, and from an environmental perspective, it’s just madness,” said Kym McWilliam from Flowers Grown in Scotland.

“Why would you keep flowers in a cold store, which we can produce without using cold storage, and we can produce in Scotland without using haulage all the way up from Cornwall? It’s crazy.”

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