A key player in flower production, Ecuador's flower industry is an important part of the country's economy. The country is the world's third-biggest flower exporter after the Netherlands and Colombia. Its flower industry has continued to experience growth, with the U.S., Netherlands, and Kazakhstan being the main export destinations for Ecuadorian flowers.
Also, the South American nation is the second-largest exporter of roses worldwide, and these flowers account for roughly 73% of its overall flower exports. However, the industry has faced challenges such as political disorder, inflation, and high input prices. Even so, demand for Ecuadorian flowers remains high, and the country is focusing on strengthening its market access worldwide.
Curfews That, to Some Extent, Hinder Movement of Flowers
Gang-related crises are not a new phenomenon in the South and Central America region. And for quite some time, a number of narcotic gangs have infiltrated Ecuador’s borders; fighting for the control of different territories and even seaports.
The result has seen an increase in the amount of homicides, which resulted in the implementation of curfews, especially, in heavily affected regions, to check the crime rate. The government, for instance, put in effect decrees that enforced restrictions on the movement of people and goods – especially at night - as it sought to curb the spread of gang-related criminal activities.
This move, in turn, affected how people and goods traveled from one place to another. The transportation of flowers was, in some ways, also affected as a result.
Eduardo Letort, the President of Hoja Verde, a flower enterprise that was founded in 1997 and focuses on producing quality select roses and other agricultural products, points out that these curfews, to some extent, affected the shipping of flowers to international markets.
Letort, who is also the President of the Board of Directors at Expo Flores explains that due to the restrictions, flower growers were consequently compelled to have special passes and documents that enabled them to move their flowers amid the movement restrictions.
Even So, You Can Expect Quality Ecuadorian Flowers This Valentine’s
Despite the snags and hiccups, the flower industry in Ecuador remains positive about delivering its high-quality roses globally, and in good time for the Valentine’s Day festivities, according to Eduardo.
“Flower business has, nonetheless, remained usual and not badly affected by the gang wars. Business is still stable and the flow of floral goods continues. As we know, the flower business provides many people here - regardless of their education levels - with good jobs. The youths get good wages working in the Ecuadorian flower farms as well.”
In that regard, Eduardo clarifies that not much in flower production has been affected by the ongoing skirmishes, and flower supply remains usual, based on the demand. Plus, given that the flower sector is the main user of the International Cargo Terminal of the Airport Quito (Quito International Airport), the airport is accorded enough tight security.
Flower prices, he adds, remain fairly stable as well, only driven by market supply and demand and by the dynamics of the Valentine’s season. The Valentine's floral market, he says, generally operates freely, with individual companies determining their flower prices based on their production capacity and the prevailing demand.
Eduardo who spoke in an episode of the Bloom Show noted that essentially, there are no indications of the prevalent violence very badly affecting flower production and exports. But more international support is, still, needed to control the raging internal conflicts between the numerous gangs occupying the country.
Good Weather, Skilled Workforce… Prospects Look Good for Ecuadorian Flowers
Ecuador is a country that experiences among the most suitable weather conditions for flower production. The country’s climate is, especially, characterized by sunny days, and it is these favorable conditions that contribute to the purity and quality of the flowers it produces.
Plus, the flower industry in the country is an important source of employment, particularly in rural areas, and has significantly impacted the economy positively.
Expecting steady production this season and beyond, the industry, Eduardo says, looks forward to meeting most of its flower consumption demands.
“We work as usual, knowing that many people across the world depend on our flower products and services.”
Even so, apart from the minor setbacks, the Ecuadorian flower industry continues to flourish without major disruptions. And the current conditions present a positive development for flower production and quality, hence an optimistic future outlook amid the current state of affairs affecting the country’s illustrious flower sector.
You can watch the interview in the video.
Feature image by @ecoroses.