Despite torrential rains throughout 2010, Colombia’s flower export industry is able to export as many flowers as last year for one of the sector’s most important annual events; Valentine’s Day.
According to Augusto Solano Mejia, president of Asocolflores, “Colombian flower growers are currently working feverishly to harvest and fill their orders for the Valentine’s holiday.”
“Fortunately we have seen a noticeable pause in the wet weather recently, particularly around the main flower growing centers of the Bogota Savannah and Rionegro,” continued Solano Mejia “although it will only be possible to determine the true impact of this rainy season on flower production and farm closures in the coming days.”
Colombia provides approximately 80 per cent of all flowers and 65 per cent of all roses sold in the United States. 15 per cent of the annual Colombian flower export takes place in the days running up to Valentine’s Day on the 14th February.
To be able to supply the peak in demand for Colombian flowers, 28 flights a day will be sent abroad in the days before Valentine’s Day.
In December, Asocolflores expressed concerns about the effects of 2010’s excessive rainy season that had “devastated” crops. “In some cases producers have a lot of difficulty reaching their place of work. In other cases the excess moisture in the atmosphere accelerates disease, and most troubling of all is that this is the most important time for us because it is the production period for Valentine’s Day,” Solano Mejia said.
According to meteorologists the 2010 rainy season in Colombia has been the worst the country has seen in 60 years. The exceptionally wet weather, caused by the weather system known as “La Niña,” has left almost 300 dead according to the Colombian branch of the Red Cross and has destroyed some 3,100 homes. According to the national government, the rainy season has caused $ 5.2 billion of damages and has led to a decrease in production in various agro-industrial sectors.
Colombian flower sales to the U.S. have been under pressure for years due to a strengthening peso, dwindling consumer spending because of the financial crisis over the last few years and increasing competition from emerging flower production markets.