It’s been a year since Agribio Group bought Ecke Ranch and only a few months since Agribio Group and Dümmen merged and together formed the holding company DNA Green Group.
With the continued consolidation of the industry’s plant breeding companies sparking some confusion among growers and allied industry members, we caught up with the Dümmen Group’s General Manager Perry Wismans to get some clarification. We asked him about the structure of the company and all of its pieces, how they will be marketed, what growers will need to know and what the company has in store for the future.
GG: What are the roles of Agribio Group and the Dümmen Group in the new company and how will growers be impacted?
Perry Wismans: After the merger, Agribio Group and the Dümmen Group will still operate independently in the market place. Both companies are now owned by the same shareholder, DNA Green Group. The latter is just a shareholder and will not have any commercial activities.
Agribio Group develops, produces and markets potted plants and chrysanthemum. The Dümmen Group does the same for spring annuals and poinsettia.
Because of the above specialization, certain Agribio Group products have merged from Agribio into the Dümmen Group. Oglevee geraniums, Ecke poinsettias and Oro annuals are now part of the Dümmen Group offering.
GG: How does it benefit Dümmen Group and Agribio Group to have so many well-known brands under one umbrella? How does this benefit growers and the industry?
Wismans: The streamlining of product lines into the companies that specialize in these products will ensure innovative products, cost-effective production and reliable quality and order fill in the long run. This is good for all parties involved, including shareholders and customers.
The Dümmen Group will create internal competition between brands to drive innovation. At the same time, production and order administration will be streamlined to ensure high-quality production and easier order-handling.
GG: What are your plans for future expansion into new areas or acquisitions of existing brands?
Wismans: Currently there are no new acquisitions planned. We will keep developing the well-known brands and put extra focus on lesser-known brands such as Bartels perennials and Fides Mystic Mums.
GG: What changes will we see with these new brands’ production systems? What changes will be implemented at existing cutting farms?
Wismans: The Dümmen philosophy has always been to grow products where they perform best. This means that certain product lines may be relocated from one production location to another. We are currently expanding our El Salvador facility with 20 acres to produce Ecke poinsettias in 2014, which will have a positive impact on the Salvadorian employee market.
The three existing Ecke farms in Guatemala have been closed and our goal is to sell the land. We are actively supporting the Guatemala farms’ staff in their search for alternative employment. Our other Guatemalan facility, Oro Farms, is also currently expanding and employing new people.
GG: What other Dümmen business practices/philosophies will be extended into these facilities and brands?
Wismans: Dümmen North America’s main sales driver has been the close relationship with our key customers, making sure we complement growers’ efforts to offer the best finished products to retailers. This is backed up with innovative products such as Confetti Garden and reliable order fill. This philosophy will remain in our new, expanded organization. The success of our customers is most important to us. We can only grow our business alongside the success of our customers.
GG: Will Red Fox continue to offer the True Grower Guarantee? Will this be extended to other brands?
Wismans: The True Grower Guarantee remains valid for products coming from Las Mercedes in El Salvador. This program is the ultimate example of how we participate in the responsibility when it comes to the growers’ success. Our goal is to copy this program to our other farms. How long this will take, we don’t know yet, but based on the drive of our growing and technical team, it won’t take long.