The exceptional rainy season has affected 95% of the areas where flowers are grown for exportation leading the president of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores) to fear a grave crisis within the sector, reported Carcaol Radio.
Asocolflores President Augusto Solano said that serious situations have arisen in the Savannah of Bogota, where the majority of flowers are cultivated and eastern Antioquia where a significant number are grown.
Solano said, “In practice 95% of the region’s flower growers have been affected by the rains which have fallen on ground already saturated from last year’s rains.”
He went on to say that it is too early to tell how badly the flower cultivators have been affected but that they were already suffering because St Valentine’s Day sales were lost due to the previous rainy season while in the current season the rains will lead to a reduction of revenue over the Mother’s Day celebration.
Colombian growers were preparing to ship flowers to the U.S. for Mother’s Day, May 8, when 25% of flower sales in the U.S. take place. Colombia supplies 65% of flowers sold in the U.S. reported The Miami Herald.
Furthermore another big buyer of Colombian flowers, Japan, has reduced its purchasing significantly since it was rocked by a series of earthquakes and a tsunami in March.
Solano continued by saying that the cost of recovering cut-flower cultivation cannot be calculated because this rainy season is only just starting and planting new crops of flowers requires expensive patented seeds.
The 2011 rainy season has affected 28 of Colombia’s 32 departments and taken the lives of at least 93 people. The cost of the damage caused by the rains is estimated to be $5 billion.