Marcel de Romph talks about calla captain ventura

Captain Ventura: a good example of partnership in the supply chain

Not every market introduction is a guaranteed success. That’s why Kapiteyn went about the launch of its white ‘Captain Ventura’ with the utmost of care. To keep supplies limited, a restricted number of allocations were issued. This controlled approach proved the right way to go; today, demand is also increasing from other countries. BloembollenVisie spoke with the various links in the supply chain about their experiences with ‘Captain Ventura’. Let’s start at the beginning: the breeding. “Captain Ventura was a product of hybridising in 2002 and we then selected it in 2004. This cultivar produces a profusion of large round white flowers which makes it perfect for the cut flower market,” says Rob Brekelmans who is responsible for breeding at Kapiteyn. “After a period of testing, we introduced this cultivar to the market under licensing in 2007, but only in limited quantities. We issued only six allocations to growers who supported the concept of production area constraints. During the initial years, we purchased their entire harvest and sold it to carefully selected commercial bulb forcers. In this way (especially at first) we could control the entire flower production. When demand for this variety increased, we started relaxing this control. We set our sights, for example, on other countries, particularly in Asia and the Middle East where we are now seeing significant growth as well.” Captain Ventura A leading variety At least once a year, Kapiteyn sits down with all the members of the supply chain to talk about its varieties. “What do they think of a certain variety? Are its sales increasing or decreasing? What ideas do they have? By giving each other feedback about the product, we all benefit. We also have frequent contact with growers, commercial bulb forcers and the CNB calla lily team throughout the year. We think it’s important to compromise sometimes and help each other out. Bulb forcers would prefer to work only with the large sizes, but if we offer 16s, they’ll buy these as well. This is a good example of how partnership in the supply chain can work and how it can help,” says Brekelmans. “Just think: Captain Ventura is now our leading variety – even though it’s competing with Crystal Blush that’s been the favourite for years.” Raymond Huijg, a grower in the Dutch town of Breezand, worked with Captain Ventura during its testing phase and is still just as excited about this variety. “I thought it was a good variety right from the start. It grows really well, produces a nice big plant, and doesn’t have any insurmountable problems. We’re now growing 0.7 hectares, but I’d like to grow more because this variety is sure to sell. Everyone wants it. A big factor in this is its presentation: that beautiful white flower. Commercial bulb forcers are really happy with this variety because the plants produce so many flowers.” Huijg sells around 70 to 80 percent of his harvest back to Kapiteyn. “I sell the rest to my own customers in the Netherlands. It’s never a problem: I don’t have to go looking for bulb forcers who want to work with this variety.” Popular Zandvoort Flowers in Huissen, the Netherlands, forces a total of around 6 hectares in calla lilies, amaryllises and freesias with 1.7 of these hectares in calla lilies. “We force fifteen to twenty varieties of calla lilies,” says Sjors Gerichhausen, “and Captain Ventura is our leading variety. We buy our tubers from Kapiteyn. We’ve been working with this variety right from the start and were also involved in its market introduction. If you work with the right varieties, promote them effectively and keep up a continuous supply, you’re assured of a solid basis. This applies to Captain Ventura, too: it sells really well and has become increasingly popular. It’s a variety that produces a lot of flowers, and that’s exactly what we want.” Zandfoort Flowers forces this variety year round and sends most of these products to auctions. “Rijnsburg, Naaldwijk and Aalsmeer are our most important auctions.” Gerichhausen frequently exchanges information with Kapiteyn and maintains contact with the export sector. “I recently spoke with Marcel de Romph from OZ Export at the trade fair about the timing of promotional activities.” Communications with Kapiteyn are often about answering the question of what calla lilies like best. “It’s still about trial and error: in which climate will calla lilies thrive best? It’s largely a matter of intuition, but we want more certainty than that.” According to Gerichhausen, contact with links in the supply chain is very worthwhile in that respect. “I agree with Rob Brekelmans: Captain Ventura is a good example of partnership in the supply chain.” Better prices Marketer Marcel de Romph at OZ Export is very positive about Captain Ventura. “For us, this is the most popular calla lily in the Captain series – it sells well everywhere. Our export company sends these flowers all over the world.” A very important factor in the success of this variety, according to De Romph, is the expertise of the bulb forcers who work with it. “They supply good flowers with a nice sturdy stem – we never have to worry about slimy stems. What’s more, this variety’s large spathe makes it really stand out from other varieties. When it comes to this aspect, Crystal Blush doesn’t come close. Although Crystal Blush is still the white calla lily in highest demand, especially for traditional white bridal decoration, its spathe is substantially smaller.” The fact that OZ Export has collaborated closely with CNB to promote the Captain varieties has also contributed to its success, according to De Romph. “This enables you to control the supply, which often results in better prices. If you ask me, we should do this more often – we’re definitely open to this idea. We always have two marketers available for supporting the promotion of new products.” By: Monique Ooms Photography: René Faas