Monday, February 26, 2024

What flowers grow in your house depends on geopolitics

Recent stories

Pavel Kuliuk, ARR.News
Pavel Kuliuk, ARR.News
My name is Kulyuk Pavel Valerievich. Born in 1977 in the Russian Urals, but have lived all my life in European Ukraine. I graduated from secondary school No. 30 in the city of Lisichansk, Luhansk region. Then I studied at the International Institute of Business Management and Law in the city of Slavyansk, Donetsk region. I started my career as a grocery wholesaler. Then I started working as a marketer in a publishing house. I have been a journalist since 2007. The globalisation of the economy is the driver of my career growth. Being a journalist has become a way of life. Each reportage is a kind of journey to some topic and country. Heterosexual, in a civil marriage, no children. I love gardening and sports. I prefer a cosy home to beautiful travels. With respect and sincerity, Pavel.

Insufficient globalisation of the world economy is holding back the development of amateur gardening around the world. Ukraine is a clear example of this. Gardeners cannot purchase the plants they like or are forced to do so at inflated prices.
But everything can change if globalisation wins.

In 2023, the volume of online commerce in Ukraine was US$1.7 billion. This is almost six times more than in 2022, when online sales dropped dramatically in 10 times and amounted to only US$310 million.1 Such strong changes in sales occurred due to the war. However, even this factor could not affect the popularity of garden plants and indoor flowers. These are not included in the top 14 best-selling products on the Internet. But flowers and plants enjoy constant, although little demand from gardeners.

According to experts, from 1 per cent2 to 7.5 per cent3 of all indoor flowers, garden plants and seeds are sold on the Internet. Online shopping is done by experienced or risk-averse gardeners. They use trusted online stores. Usually these are stores that can recommend familiar people.

Plants in gardener Svetlana Khromova’s garden on the outskirts of Kramatorsk, Donetsk region. The garden is 10 years old and approximately 0.14 acres. The most commons plants are roses, chrysanthemums, lilies as well as conifers and ornamental shrubs. The garden contains plants from North America (Virginia juniper, Canadian pine) and Europe (Dutch tulips, roses). The garden is processesd manually without the use of machinery.
Photos: Pavel Kuliuk.

Shopping in online stores is convenient. There is also a quality guarantee. But the main reason for online shopping is the large selection of goods. In the online store, you can buy plants and seeds that are not sold in local markets. Online stores have become real drivers of the spread of plants that grow outside the borders of Ukraine. Svetlana Khromova, a gardener from Ukraine, spoke about her experience of using online stores.

ARR.News: Why do you buy flowers and seeds from an online store?

Svetlana Khromova: The main reason is the large selection. There is also a quality guarantee. These are real plant varieties, not fakes. Shopping is convenient. Can reserve goods several months in advance. During this time, I can think carefully about the purchase and consult with other gardeners.

ARR.News: How much money can you save when buying plants in an online store?

Svetlana Khromov: I can’t save money. In online stores, plants and seeds are more expensive than on the market. However, the higher price is due to higher quality as well as the exclusivity of the offer. I usually buy plants in online stores that are very rare for our country.

ARR.News: What percentage of plants arrive spoiled? Are these losses compensated?

Svetlana Khromova: Usually it is 1-2 per cent. In this case, the online store returns the money. I’ve been using the same store for four years. During this time, only two times were the shipments containing broken or dead plants.

ARR.News: Have prices increased since the beginning of the war or not?

Svetlana Khromov:  Prices have increased by 5-10 per cent. But this is not a big increase in price. Other goods have risen in price much more.

ARR.News: Would you like buying plants in online stores in other countries to be as easy as in Ukrainian online stores?

Svetlana Khromova: Yes. Certainly. This would make it possible to make a good collection of plants. Now many flowers are not available to us. These plants are sold in Europe, USA, Australia. But ordering this in foreign stores is very difficult and expensive.

Svetlana’s words are confirmed by other gardeners. On specialised forums, gardeners report that, due to various reasons, the cost of ordering in foreign online stores increases by 1.5 times.4 This makes it impossible to purchase many rare plants in Ukraine. Reasons for increased prices for orders:

  • Phyto certificate and CITES certificate,
  • Customs tax (up to 30 per cent),
  • Services of banks and other payment systems,
  • Postage,
  • Currency conversion.

As we see, online stores are the real drivers of the spread of garden plants around the world. However, this cannot be used effectively. There are many barriers to purchasing plants. This is mainly due to the weak globalisation of the world economy. Many countries have ineffective and outdated laws regulating the import of plants.

For example, in Pakistan, quarantine laws were developed in the late 60-70s of the last century. Many countries have introduced long-term plant import controls. For example, in Australia the import risk analysis (IRA) process takes 24-30 months.5 During periods of crisis, many countries restrict trade in agricultural products and plant seeds. For example, from the beginning of 2022 to February 2023, the number of such restrictions in the world increased from 1 to 68.6 And this will continue. Since restrictions bring economic benefits to those countries that do these restrictions. Although restrictions greatly harm other countries.7

There is no political force yet that would regulate the sale of plants and seeds in an international format. National governments are trying solve it alone. For example, at a meeting on August 25, 2023, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine adopted a resolution that simplified the procedure for importing unregistered plant varieties into Ukraine.8 Perhaps this will make the life of Svetlana and other Ukrainian gardeners easier. But this is not enough to improve the situation in the world. The globalisation of the world economy can help. The driving force behind this process is the United States.

We interviewed experts from America about how the situation in this area will develop. All of them were asked one question:

ARR.News: Do you expect the US role to increase in the globalisation process in the coming years?

Here’s what the experts said.

“The amount to which the US increases or decreases its involvement in the globalisation process 100 per cent depends on who the next US president is. If it’s Joe Biden, he is more inclined to take a globalist perspective. By and large, Democrats believe that international organisations like the UN, the WHO and others are effective. Republicans, on the other hand, tend to be suspicious of global organisations because they are largely unaccountable and take ‘pie-in-the-sky’ positions that ignore individual country concerns for the ‘greater good.’”,
– said Owner & President, Klink  Campaigns, Inc., Matt Klink.

“Historically the US has been a major player in the globalisation process, so I foresee that continuing. Of course, this will be influenced by various significant factors such as international relations, economic policies, trade agreements, geopolitical developments, etc.”,
– said Policy and Law Strategist, Sabrina Newby.

“The United States, as the sole global superpower, holds a unique and dominant position in the world, a status unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. However, its role in globalisation is expected to evolve, influenced by technological advancements, political shifts, economic policies, and global crises. The US’s continued influence hinges on its economic and technological prowess and how it approaches global cooperation and trade. The emergence of other nations and regional powers may also reshape globalisation dynamics, but the US’s preeminent position remains largely unchallenged”,
– said President Kaplan Strategies, Doug Kaplan.

As we see, most experts believe that the United States continues to actively promote the ideas of globalisation. This means that geopolitics will remain the ally of ordinary gardeners. Sooner or later, people will have the opportunity to easily buy the plants they like anywhere in the world. We just need to complete the globalisation of the economy. And this requires the joint efforts of voters and politicians.




Sign up to the Australian Rural & Regional News newsletters

Manage your subscription

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.