The general mood at the ÖGA was extremely positive, which is no wonder, since the majority of the green sector has benefited from Corona and the dark clouds in the economic sky have not yet really reached the sector. Although (purchasing) prices are rising everywhere, few people seem to be worried at the moment. The biggest concerns are energy prices, which are one of the biggest cost blocks, especially for the producing horticulture.
My first visit to ÖGA was 30 years ago and sometimes I have the feeling that not much has changed since then. Many companies still exhibit at the same place, and even their ranges are partly the same. But maybe that is the strength of the industry: continuity and small steps in development instead of exponential growth with the corresponding risk. Certainly, there were numerous small innovations to be discovered this year, which further develop the industry.
But all this should not obscure the fact that the industry will continue to be challenged in the future. The merging of analogue and digital continues to progress and the demands of customers on retail and especially on the retail business are becoming ever greater, regardless of size or sector. It is perhaps indicative of this development that Janko Jakelj, the founder of the successful online indoor plant shop «Feey» was voted Gardener of the Year. This is a good example of how analogue concepts are being marketed digitally and how more and more newcomers are entering the "Green Industry" and successfully shaking up the supremacy of traditional companies, often without them noticing.
Another topic that is bothering the sector is the acute shortage of skilled workers, which has not only been prevalent since this year, but has been getting worse and worse over the years. Many entrepreneurs seem a little at a loss as to what to do about it. Jardin Suisse, the Swiss Gardeners' Association, is countering this with a new training concept, which was presented in a large special exhibition. This is certainly one approach to making the profession appealing to young people. But it will be much more important that these young gardeners also see an interesting perspective for their professional future. This includes not only the salary, but also attractive working conditions, good opportunities for further training and modern workplaces that no longer have to hide in comparison with other sectors.
Especially in this context, I would like to see more innovation in the sector in order to be attractive for well-trained professionals.
Media Concept is happy to support the Green Industry in its many challenges.