Tuesday September 13 Miami Fla.
A meeting was held, sponsored by UPS, where the membership of AFIF (& Flowersandcents.com) were present to hear presentations by Augusto Solano, of Asocolflores (the Colombian flower organization), Carolina Gomez from Resourcefulness and Jason G. Usallan of UPS.
The meeting was an opportunity for Augusto to map out the Colombian floriculture sector in relationship to the other global producers. All of the important Miami Players were in attendance which always holds the promise of interesting conversions to be overheard by a journalist.
The meeting was called to order by Carlos Oramas of The Gems Group and the current AFIF president. Augusto then took the stage and presented a slide show of statistics that show how Colombia floriculture is doing.
(contact ‘Christine Boldt’ <firstname.lastname@example.org> for the entire powerpoint presentation.
I will highlight the most important ones here.
In this slide we can see that little ole Germany remains only second to the US in imports. The Germans love flowers!
The most notable change in Exports was the rise of Ethiopia equaling the 8% of Kenya exports where the floral industry began in Africa. However, with that said the Ethiopian Floral industry is in dismay after the resent attacks on foreign owned farms. While the industry in Ethiopia will survive it will be forever changed.
Augusto discussed the current political situation in Colombia which is about to sign a historic truce with the FARC to end a decades old battle.
This will define Colombian politics for the the years to come and we wish them well in this process. Additionally the major concerns for the Colombian floral industry are now water and labor. The wages paid to workers is growing with minimum wages increases and all cost are up on supplies. Water remains a global issue and will surely play a role in future floriculture development.
The affect of the exchange rate has been an ongoing issue for Colombians. A favorable exchange rate like the current one (2919 pesos per dollar)gives the growers some breathing room and they hope is stays this way. When it dips below 2500 the fiscal pressure is on high.
AFIF’s Christine Boldt took over and noted the AFIF’s ,very concise, mission statement; “To ensure the free flow of flowers”.
AFIF works with Homeland security and other departments to minimize importation delays and maximize communications between the industry and Government agencies that are involved in floral.
Carolina Gomez of Resourefulness spoke of how they help growers manage employee salaries and benefits.
Finally Jason G. Usallan, UPS Senior Account Mgr. Took the stage to tell us that; “They are more than ground and UPS likes flowers” and that they have put together some very attractive pricing for AFIF members.
At the conclusion there was an open bar to encourage more member communications and hopefully give this reporter more news to report. Thanks to AFIF for the invitation to cover this event. See more pictures from the event below.
I would say that this meeting leaves one thinking that the industry is strong but has many challenges ahead and my final thought….
Remember Woman’s Day. In March!
Thank you for your time.