Ministry of Agriculture Food and Forestry Policies

Stefano Patuanelli

 Minister of Agriculture Food and Forestry Policies

2021 was a very challenging year for the nursery gardening sector. After a setback due to the effects of the pandemic, the Italian industry is recording a strong recovery thanks to the capability of businesses to emerge in foreign markets. 2022 will be the year of the return of big international trade fairs, from Euroflora 2022 to Expo Floriade in the Netherlands, two showcases that we can’t miss if we want to consolidate this positive trend.

The resources which the National Recovery and Resilience Plan has made available to ensure the ecological transition are unprecedented in recent history, and in the budget law that has been recently approved by the Council of Ministers we have made available 450 million euros, about 50% more than the previous year, for the Italian food industry, and we renewed the Green Bonus, which supports over 100.000 employees in the nursery gardening sector, for the next three years.

The Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies is working to pursue a few interventions and action lines aimed at the economic and productive strengthening of the sector, starting from innovation, ecological and digital transition, professional development, production enhancement and qualification, research and testing, to a plan for a more modern and greener logistics. These are all measures which may give a strong boost to shift towards an agriculture which is increasingly able to meet the European challenge launched with the Next Generation EU and the Farm to Fork strategy, in terms of environmental, economic and social sustainability. 

ENA (European Nurserystock Association)

Henk Raaijmakers

President of ENA

It is an honour to be the president of ENA for the next two years. With my experience as former president of the Dutch Nursery Organisation and vice-president of ENA, I hope to bring ENA and its members further in a fast-changing world.

As ENA, we have the ‘Green Cities’ project with 13 member organisations to share knowledge about how green can solve air pollution, heat stress, and flooding and contribute to our citizens’ well-being and health. The market is booming, but there is a shortage of staff. Due to climate change, we are confronted with more and sometimes new diseases and weather extremes. We are facing more and difficult legislation to import or export plants across the European borders. The European Commission is starting the ‘farm to fork’ strategy, which will impact the legislation to use chemicals, substrates, and fertilisers. Together with this possible negative effect on our daily work also comes a positive message; namely 3 billion trees to be planted in the next 10 – 20 years.

ENA stands in the frontline at the European Commission and its working groups to monitor and influence new legislation. Together with ANVE and the other European members, ENA develops more and more strength and influence within this process. Members are frequently asked to give practical input so that ENA can speak on behave of its 22 members with one voice. Together with the ‘Green Cities’ project for a greener world and a new project for student internships and promotion for our sector, we, as ENA, try to support our member organisations. And through our member organisations, we try to do your work, as an entrepreneur and enthusiastic grower, a little bit easier and more joyful.

I wish you a green and successful 2022.

International Association of Horticultural Producers (AIPH)

Bernard Oosterom

President of AIPH 

In 2021, AIPH continues with many online events as ‘the world’s champion for the power of plants’ and a valuable global network for the industry.

Our Spring Conference, Working Together For Better Plant Health, and our Plant Health Survey recommended more industry collaboration to protect and maintain confidence in the plant trade.

The Green City Conference saw innovations and advances to promote plants’ essential role in creating vibrant urban areas. We announced Green City Guidelines and the World Green City Awards 2022.

Our Green City principles saw a collaboration with the Worshipful Company of Gardeners to conduct the City of London Green City Briefings delivering multiple solutions to city challenges.

We are supporting plant breeders’ rights with a Sparring Partner Group (SPG) Novelty Protection.

AIPH members approved the adoption of a Sustainability Policy. Discussions at the Autumn Congress ‘The Path to Sustainability in Ornamental Horticulture’ saw how important it is to develop a sustainable focus.

Through our publication, FloraCulture International, we were able to keep the industry fully updated on global developments. A series of webinars have helped identify a positive future for our industry.

AIPH will continue to support growers with the International Grower of the Year Awards, and in Italy, we will continue our approval of Euroflora in 2022.

We are happy to welcome Leonardo Capitanio as AIPH Vice President and look forward to working together being ‘the world’s champion for the power of plants’.

Parlamento Europeo 

Paolo De Castro 

Agriculture Committee of the European Parliament

The Covid-19 pandemic is not yet over and its impact will still be felt in 2022. However, exports of floricultural products, at least in the European Union, are up again: +31% in the first seven months of 2021 according to ISTAT data, with a year-end projection that is expected to be worth almost 1.4 billion Euros, thanks to double-digit demand in some countries such as Germany, France and Holland. An intangible evidence of a Made in Italy production of flowers and plants that confirms its excellence.


Pending the entry into force of the new Common Agricultural Policy in 2023, the sector continues to seize the opportunities – and financial resources – traditionally provided by the EU. Yet at this stage shared concerns about rising raw material and energy costs are not overlooked, in addition to Italy’s chronic shortcomings in terms of logistics and infrastructure.


However, in order to consolidate growth, nursery companies shall focus on strengthening research. Not only as regards genetic improvement and new biotechnologies for the production and marketing of new varieties, but also as regards peat: plant substrates for which Italy is at the top in Europe, behind Germany, but which have recently been in short supply due to the closure of Ireland’s most important peat bog.


Hence experiments are needed also in the perspective of the European Green Deal so as to identify new types of soil, more environmentally friendly and anti-waste solutions, by leveraging research and innovation.