Colombian Floral Industry in Bloom for Valentine’s Day
Colombia Exports More Than a Billion Flowers Each Year
BOGOTA – With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, millions of people will say, “I love you” with Colombian flowers. Colombia is the world’s second largest exporter of flowers and the top global producer of carnations, including unique bicolor carnations in a variety of hues. As a global leader in floral exports, the industry is valued at more than $1 billion.
Colombia has been exporting flowers for more than forty years, with the majority of the exports going to the United States and Canada. Because of the country’s unique sunlight, humidity, temperature and soil fertility, the region produces the largest variety of exotic flowers in the world, with more than 1,500 different species of flowers. Colombian flowers have won numerous international recognitions and are the country’s top non-traditional agricultural export.
“Flower crops in Colombia have high quality standards to ensure better sizes, preservation and colors in the flowers,” said Maria Claudia Lacouture, President of Procolombia, the Colombian government agency charged with promoting, trade, investment, tourism and country brand. “Beyond producing a quality product, the industry directly generates more than 120,000 jobs that provide opportunities for farmers and women in Colombia to become self-sustaining.”
Colombia exports a significant number of flowers to the Caribbean. Puerto Rico serves as the region’s largest importer, followed by Trinidad and Tobago, and Jamaica. Last year, flower exports reached more than $6 million from January 2014 to November 2014, with roses serving as the most popular flower. Other floral exports included alstroemerias, carnations and gerbera daisies, which come in hundreds of different species and colors.
But the Colombian floral trend doesn’t stop on Valentine’s Day. Caribbean importers are picking up on other important dates such as Mother’s Day and special occasions. Wedding and event planners can design beautiful arrangements and bouquets with natural Colombian flowers, which is a trend that Colombia aims to set in markets like Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago.
Colombia’s global competitors in the floral industry market are the Netherlands, Ecuador, and Kenya. But, what sets Colombia apart from its competition is their variety of exotic flowers, such as chrysanths, asters, callas, gerberas, liliums, among others. With a strong reputation of exporting high quality flowers around the world, Colombia remains a major player in the floral industry around the globe.
Colombia also stands out based on its reputation for quality – not only for its flowers, but for efforts to promote sustainability and protect its workforce. The organization ‘Asocolflores’ represents nearly 75 percent of total Colombian flower exports, and is responsible for policies that protect worker safety and health. As well, the Colombian Association of Flower Exports and the certification program ‘Florverde’ are renowned for implementing sustainable, best practices throughout the flower industry.