During the first five months of this year, Colombian flower growers shipped 98,254 tons of flowers to foreign markets, which is 6.9 per cent higher than the 91,940 tons shipped in the same period of 2013.
The Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores) highlighted that the increase in volume has also been reflected in an increase of the sales, which amounted to 644.5 million dollars, 2.2 per cent more than the 630.4 million dollars achieved between January and May of the last year.
The sector also highlighted that United States remains as the main market for Colombian flowers, concentrating 75.6 per cent of the value (487.5 million dollars) and 73.4 of the volume (72,207 tons).
The regional manager of Asocolflores in Antioquia, Marcos Ossa Ramírez, points out that in spite of the positive figures, there is concern among cultivators because of the dollar exchange rate.
“The Government made a commitment with exporters to maintain the so-called Cárdenas dollar (between 1,900 and 1,950 Colombian pesos per dollar), but we saw that only a couple of months”.
For the manager, the main concern is that revaluation will continue according to the projections of economic analysts and that it may jeopardize the future of the industry.
Another critical subject for the industry has to do with the arrival of the climatological phenomenon of El Niño.
“That is another complex aspect, because this is a sector that highly depends on water availability, although flower growers have managed to deal with this through the use of reservoirs, which are currently at one hundred of their capacity. We expect that the adverse weather conditions can be mitigated with these reservoirs”.
According to Ossa, the Florverde program plays an important role in the preparation works. Under this program, cultivators should reduce their water consumption and channel rainwater to the reservoirs.
Another aspect that flower growers do not neglect is the management and control of pests and diseases, with the support of the National Agricultural Institute (ICA).
For the rest of the year and after the peaks of St Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, the sector expects a decrease in the production of flowers, which coincides with summertime and holidays in their main export markets.
“We are already getting organized and prepared for the end of the year season, to start in September with the important peaks of such season”.