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Update on impact of coronavirus on export markets

Royal FloraHolland  has released an update from the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV), who are involved in the crisis measures surrounding the Coronavirus and informs Royal FloraHolland about the impact of the virus on the export market.
The German agricultural industry is feeling the effects of the Coronavirus on exports and the domestic market. However, the Raiffeisen association (DRV) does not expect major price decreases as demand remains high. DRV chairman Holzenkamp expects the impact on trade flows to become more visible in April/May. Currently there are problems, mainly due to the limited availability of refrigerated containers. Some Bundesländer have lifted the Sunday ban on lorry transport by road until 30 May for shelf-life food and hygiene products in order to meet demand. These are North Rhine-Westphalia, Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony and Saxony. (Lebensmittelzeitung).
France has taken more stringent measures. Shops close, only supermarkets and other grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol pumps and banks remain open. In addition, the wholesale centre Rungis in Paris must close its gates. This is a very important outlet for our exporters, which stops immediately.
In the supermarkets there is a run on long-life products such as pasta and canned fish. The French agrifood sector notices price fluctuations on the international markets for primary products (wheat, corn, rapeseed). The French sector is particularly affected by the falling demand in China, such as the falling demand for milk powder for baby milk. Danone obtains 10% of its turnover from China and already has a loss of 100 million euro in the first quarter. The French sector is also experiencing problems in the field of agrologistics, namely faltering container seaborne transport from China. This comes on top of the consequences of the strikes in the French ports at the beginning of 2020.
According to the sector (Boerenbond), the impact on Flemish agriculture is already being felt, but the impact is more of an indirect one as trade is stalling elsewhere, and the effect is mild. For the time being, it is mostly a production shock (rising transport prices and congestion in the transport and production chain), and demand is holding up. However, if the epidemic continues for a longer period, this may change rapidly (and thus have a greater impact). The main sectors already affected are potato (prices) and dairy exports. For the time being there is no effect on fruit and vegetable prices. Annual turnover of the Belgian food industry depends for more than 55% on exports.
From Friday evening 13 March at midnight, all catering establishments are closed for 3 weeks (until the start of the Easter holidays in Belgium on 3 April). Schools will also close from Monday until the Easter holidays.
The supply from Italy is stagnating. There is fear among drivers to enter or leave the country. They are afraid that measures will become even tougher and contact with their home front will be cut off. In addition, there is an enormous traffic jam of trucks on the outgoing national road near Bologna. Extra checks at the border have resulted in dozens of kilometres of traffic jams. Finally, production facilities are shutting down and sending more and more of their staff home.
Food sales in supermarkets are going very well, because people have started buying food en masse and because specialist shops are shut down in many cases (people are not/less allowed to leave their homes, so they get their products at one point of sale: the supermarket). Closing restaurants, canteens of schools, restaurants and other catering establishments has a negative effect. Local markets do not continue, but wholesale markets do continue.
United Kingdom:
The government is waiting as long as possible for heavier measures. In doing so, it hopes to prevent people from getting tired of these measures by the time the threats are most serious. The idea is that this would avoid a sharp spike in the number of infections. So far, government advice to citizens has been largely limited to a week's self-isolation in case of symptoms of cough and fever. There are no restrictions on the movement of people or goods.
In Spain, measures are tightened. People are urged to stay at home and only leave the house for food, medicine, care, work or 'other emergencies'. Shops close and are only allowed to deliver.
On 14 March, all borders closed at 12:00 for personal traffic, for the time being until 13 April. There are no barriers for freight traffic. The flow of goods must continue.
From Sunday, 15 March 00.01 hours, additional measures will apply in Poland based on the state of Epidemiological Emergency, including no entry for foreigners. International flights will all be cancelled and the border will be closed. Poland and people with a permanent residence permit are obliged to spend 14 days in quarantine (at home) on their return. The border remains open for movement of goods (including food products) - both export and import. Restaurants, shopping malls, bars are closed. Food shops and pharmacies remain open. Restaurants are allowed to deliver. One of the producers of mineral fertilisers warns of a possible shortage of fertilisers in Poland due to transport problems. Several representatives of the food industry assured on Thursday that there will be no shortages in the shops.
Kenya and Ethiopia:
In Kenya and Ethiopia the 1st official infections were confirmed on 13 March. International and national meetings with more than 14 people have been cancelled in Kenya.
Czech Republic and Slovakia:
Both countries declared a state of emergency on Thursday 12 March. As a result, airports and border crossings have been closed. In Slovakia, only people of Slovakian nationality or with a residence permit are admitted. In the Czech Republic, entry is not possible for 15 nationalities, including Dutch nationals. Cargo flights and international cargo traffic are not restricted, so companies can be supplied. Shopping centres will be closed this weekend, with the exception of food shops and pharmacies.
In Turkey, 1 case of Corona has been confirmed. However, the rumour machine (social media, etc.) is talking about several dozen so-called 'suspicious cases'. Food prices rose Wednesday 11 March, but now seem to be back to the old level.
Kuwait announced a total lockdown on March 11th until the end of the month. All government offices are closed. All flights until Friday, March 14 have been cancelled. In the supermarkets there is a lot of hammering, ATMs are getting empty.
Saudi Arabia:
The travel ban for persons from a number of countries has been extended, including almost all EU countries, including the Netherlands. The transport of goods is not affected. For a country that depends on foreign countries for 80% of its basic needs, the ban is not surprising. There are rumours that government organizations have been asked to look for 20% budget savings, which will undoubtedly also have an impact on the planned investments in the agricultural sector.

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