Tradition has it that on the first of May, the French presidential couple welcomes lily producers to the Elysée, as well as representatives of the Rungis market in order to receive a sprig of lilies. This year, the reception took place in a small committee, but the custom was held once again despite the coronavirus crisis. However, the restrictive measures put in place since the beginning of the lockdown regarding horticultural professionals were not relaxed.
“Wholesalers asked for an authorization to market the lily of their producers on this symbolic day, but they received a negative response from the government. Witnessing their disappointment, the fruit and vegetable sector union decided to support the horticultural sector by helping to sell part of the lily production, already engaged for months. Several wholesalers, members of the fruit and vegetable union, therefore sold pots of lilies last week at 4 euros per pot. This way, 1 euro per pot would go to the wholesaler, and the rest would go to the wholesaler of the Végétal group, as well as to the lily producer located in Nantes,” explains Gérard Lliso, manager of Select Agrumes, who took part in the operation.
The act of solidarity was quite a success among the clients of the fruit and vegetable wholesalers. “As far as we’re concerned, we had ordered 185 pots which were sold in just a few hours!,” according to Gérard. “The operation was highly appreciated by our clients, who then sold the lily sprigs to their own customers, including them in their home-delivery offer.”