Colombian workers cultivating pink chrysanthemums. Photo: Asocolflores
BOGOTA, Colombia (PXP) -- Millions of consumers in the Caribbean will receive flowers from Colombia this Valentine’s Day, said Proexport Colombia, the Colombian government agency tasked with trade, tourism and investment.
Colombia is the second largest exporter of flowers in the world, valued at more than 1 billion dollars each year. In the Caribbean alone, flower exports exceeded $8 million from January to November 2013. In this region, Puerto Rico is the largest importer of flowers, followed by Trinidad and Tobago, Aruba, Jamaica and Dominican Republic.
“We are very proud of Colombia’s flower industry,” said Proexport president Maria Claudia Lacouture. “Not only does it show the quality of the products being produced in Colombia, but the industry directly generates more than 120,000 jobs that provide opportunities for farmers and women in Colombia to become self-sustaining.”
Colombia has been exporting flowers for the past 40 years and dedicates over 7,200 hectares to growing these blooms. 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.
Valentine's Day, celebrated every February 14, makes Canada and the United States the main export markets for Colombian flowers, but there are others with potential. For example, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and DANE, between 2012 and 2013 exports to new markets such as the Bahamas, Belize, Liberia, Armenia, and South Africa, among others were reported.
Colombia’s traditional red “Freedom” roses are the flowers with the highest demand around Valentine’s Day. Colombia also experiences an increased demand for alstroemeria, chrysanthemums, heliconias and full bouquets.
Colombia is the top global producer of carnations, including unique bicolor carnations that come in a variety of hues. The country is also a world leader in alstromelia production, which is one of the main flowers exported to markets such as Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands Antilles. Other popular flowers include chrysanthemums and gerbera daisies, which come in hundreds of different species and colours.
Colombia has made a continuous effort to promote environmental sustainability and social responsibility in its flower industry, implementing initiatives to assist workers with child daycare, scholastic aid, dental health and housing improvement.
The easy logistics process for the import of Colombian flowers in the Caribbean is an attractive factor to buyers in the region. The Colombian flower industry offers several alternatives such as competitive prices, high quality and fast delivery times.