AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands: There is no official figure but it is believed there are 4500ha worldwide of lily bulbs grown for cut flowers. Today Mak Breeding works with around 750ha of land, producing in excess 250 million bulbs annually with the majority destined for Dutch flower forcers and export. Virus-free starting material is one of the core values of the company.
“But company size is not the most important thing to focus on,” emphasized Rogier Mak adding that in an industry frequently plagued by pests and diseases healthy, hassle-free bulbs for producers deserve much more attention. The most unwelcome of all is the dreaded Plantago Asiatica Mosaic Virus (PlAMV) which was first detected in 2010 in Dutch greenhouse lily flower production. “PlAMV causes a lot of frustration in that despite all the time, money and energy put into securing a clean, hygienic working environment the virus continues to haunt the sector. PlAMV is also a terrifying virus as it can spread with lightning speed with up to 80% product loss in greenhouse production, whereas in others no damage is reported,” said Rogier.
The challenge is to keep far from it. “Virus-free starting material is one of the most important core values of our company. We have put forward a very strict security regime that allows us to identify, track and control the spread of the virus as quickly as possible,” outlined Rogier. He continued, “Our brother Niels carries out the breeding work and when a new variety is ready for the market, bulbs are propagated using tissue culture techniques and scaling. The clean bulblets are then grown on in our greenhouse. From there they move via the front part of our processing hall to the land to be harvested and transported to a different location before the semi-finished starting material is delivered to bulb farmers. There are strict, hygienic measures and all working stations and product flows are separated. We always move forward while never taking a step back. But eventually the supply chain as a whole is as strong as its weakest link. As the trade in lily bulbs is a global business, it is impossible to control every aspect of it. What makes the situation even more complex is that while some viruses can be easily recognized and others not, some viruses are harmless, such as ArMV and SLRSV, but simply not accepted by strict plant regulation laws abroad. And different viruses can strengthen each other.”
Interested in a Dutch lily industry update, read FCI’s November/December issue, pages 12-15. http://www.floraculture.eu/digizine/nov2016_2/magazine.html