Colombian flower growers celebrate Valentine’s Day

(Photo: La Patilla)

Colombian Lovers and flower businesses alike celebrate Valentine’s Day as farmers across country prepare millions of flowers for local sale and export.

In Colombia, the second largest exporter of flowers after the Netherlands, the cultivation for the flowers begins one month before the holiday bringing much needed work to the farmers – many of them single mothers, La Estrella newspaper reports.

“Everything that is earned during this holiday is what sustains all of us during the rest of the year,” Colombian flower worker Maria Luz Gonzales told La Estrella.

In 2013 more than 100 million roses were sold during the holiday with Latin America’s main flower export countries being Ecuador and Colombia. The countries exported a combined total of 750 million flowers in 2012 to around 90 countries that celebrate the holiday, according to Portafolio magazine.

Augusto Solano, president of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores), stressed the importance of this date and stating “this season makes up around 12% of annual sales in the flower industry.”

The main destinations of exported Colombian flowers are the United States (76%), Russia (5%), Japan (4%) and England (3%), according to Asocolflores.

“Colombia dominates the U.S. market with more than 60% of the roses sold on Valentine’s Day, but we also sell 92% of all carnations consumed there, 93% of chrysanthemums and 97% of all the alstroemerias,” Solano said.

In Ecuador’s case, last year the country exported around 250 million flowers, 70% of which were roses within 200 cargo flights.

Peru and Guatemala make up the other large flower exporters in Latin America.


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