Colombian flower producers are gearing up for their most profitable holiday of the year, as Valentine’s Day rolls around Friday and millions are expected to express their love with some sort of a colorful bloom. This year, it is estimated that Colombia will export more than 500 million flowers ahead of Feb. 14, according to Proexport, the Colombian government agency tasked with trade, tourism and investment.
Puerto Rico is Colombia’s most important export market in the Caribbean, purchasing more than $5.7 million in flowers between January and November 2013.
Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica and Dominican Republic follow the U.S. territory in consuming Colombian blooms. In total, the region consumed $8 million in Colombian flowers between January and November 2013, the agency said.
“We are very proud of Colombia’s flower industry,” said Proexport President María Claudia Lacouture, noting that the South American country is the second largest exporter of flowers in the world, valued at more than $1 billion each year.
“Not only does it show the quality of the products being produced in Colombia, but the industry directly generates more than 120,000 jobs that provide opportunities for farmers and women in Colombia to become self-sustaining,” she said.
Colombia has been exporting flowers for the past 40 years and dedicates more than 7,200 hectares to growing these blooms. Because of the country’s unique sunlight, humidity, temperature and soil fertility, the region produces the largest variety of exotic flowers in the world, with more than 1,500 different species of flowers. Colombian flowers have won numerous international recognitions and are the country’s top non-traditional agricultural export.
Valentine’s Day makes Canada, the United States and Puerto Rico the main export markets for Colombian flowers, but there are others with potential, Proexport said. For example, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Tourism and DANE, between 2012 and 2013 exports to new markets such as the Bahamas, Belize, Liberia, Armenia, and South Africa, among others were reported.Colombia produces a full variety of flowers, from alstroemerias, chrysanthemums, heliconias and carnations. (Credit: Proexport)
Colombia’s traditional red “Freedom” roses are the flowers with the highest demand around Valentine’s Day, as are alstroemerias, chrysanthemums, heliconias and full bouquets.
Colombia is the top global producer of carnations, including unique bicolor carnations that come in a variety of hues. The country is also a world leader in alstromelia production, which is one of the main flowers exported to markets such as Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago and the Netherlands Antilles. Other popular flowers include chrysanthemums and gerbera daisies, which come in hundreds of different species and colors.
The agency attributes the boom in flower exports to the Caribbean to the ease of logistics, competitive prices, high quality and fast delivery times.