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UK ornamental growers told to target exports

British ornamental growers should look to emulate the exporting success of other UK niche producers. GardenEx director-general Amanda Sizer Barrett said British Christmas tree, chilli and even tea growers have recently increased exports. "You can get Government funding to exhibit at several overseas shows but the scatter-gun approach doesn't work very well," she added. "At our 'meet the buyer' event last year, buyers were desperate for interesting new varieties. Mail-order and internet companies are often the best route for UK producers." GardenEx commercial manager Charlie Parker said: "We are world-famous for gardens and gardening", but though Germany accounts for more than a fifth of the £67bn continental gardening market "it's incredibly competitive price-wise". He described Scandinavia as "a very good market for UK products, despite the short season" and Turkey as "a huge, growing market". But in the French and German markets "you need text in their language and someone who speaks it if you're going to exhibit there". Sizer Barrett said "good business" is also possible with southern hemisphere countries "at a time when your home market is quiet". HTA market information manager David Denny said the association has free information resources available to members interested in exporting. Relative to some European countries "the British don't actually spend that long on gardening". Bulgaria and Slovenia, for example, spend nearly three times as long per day on average, with two-thirds of the latter's housing stock consisting of detached houses. But such desk research "is a first step, not a decision-making tool", he stressed. Hortibiz

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