Join José Ricardo Dávalos in an Interview to Celebrate Florisol's 40th Anniversary

For this jubilee in the industry, the owner shares some of their history and most important moments.

By: THURSD. | 15-05-2024 | 10 min read
Chrysanthemums Interviews Cut Flowers
Florisol and Co Owner José Ricardo Dávalos

Since 1984, Florisol&Co has grown into one of Ecuador's most important companies in the fresh cut flower industry, exporting its product to more than fifty countries. Nowadays it is recognized worldwide for its quality and corporate responsibility. Tune into this special interview where José Ricardo Dávalos, Owner of Florisol&Co shares more about his journey in the industry, why he's so passionate about what he does, and most importantly, how special this year is for them, as they are celebrating their 40th anniversary.

Celebrating Florisol&Co's 40th Anniversary in an Exclusive Interview With José Ricardo Dávalos

Q: To start, could you share with us the story behind the birth of Florisol 40 years ago? What inspired the founding of this flower farm?

José Ricardo:

"In 1984, floriculture in Colombia already had a history of around 25 years. My uncle Mauricio, seeing that the Tabacundo and Cayambe areas had a climate similar to the Colombian savannah, had an ambitious idea — bring that experience to Ecuador and start growing roses because it was already a well-established industry. This led to the founding of Agroflora, Ecuador's first flower farm.

Despite the challenges, the project took off successfully, and six months later, along with my father, they decided to buy another piece of land to plant fruit trees. However, the advisor from Agroflora suggested that the land would be perfect for chrysanthemums. Inspired by this idea, my father jumped on this adventure and consequently opened the first Florisol farm."


Florisol and Co family legacy
Florisol&Co's legacy in a family photo
From left to right: Verónica Dávalos, Piedad Díaz, José Ricardo Dávalos, Ricardo Dávalos, and María Piedad Dávalos


"I remember those days clearly. I was just twelve years old, and it was a time of true beginnings because, back then, the floriculture industry was starting in the country, and Florisol was the third flower farm in the country. The lack of infrastructure was evident; Florisol had no bathrooms, dining area, or warehouse; simply nothing. There were no cold storage rooms or options for air cargo; we were starting from scratch.

Today, we celebrate four decades of history and growth. This achievement is largely due to the pioneering spirit of my uncle Mauricio, my father Ricardo Dávalos, and other brave individuals who ventured to shape this industry from its foundations."

Q: From its humble beginnings, how has Florisol grown over these four decades? What were the key moments that drove its growth?

José Ricardo:

"My father was always a cautious man. He liked to do things carefully, with safety and planning. This philosophy was reflected in Florisol's gradual growth. Unlike many who chose to expand rapidly, doubling or tripling their cultivation area overnight, we preferred to move forward step by step.

Our farm began its journey slowly, with three hectares of flat land in the first stage. This space included greenhouses one, two, and three, which gradually filled with our flowers. I remember around the year 1992, we had the opportunity to acquire the neighboring property in Caucazo. This land, previously owned by an architect, became part of Florisol after his passing, fulfilling a curious prediction he made during the inauguration of Greenhouse One. This event marked another milestone in our growth, adding another three hectares to our extension."


Founder of Florisol Ricardo Davalos
Founder of Florisol&Co, Ricardo Dávalos


"In 1996, with the purchase of a property in Cotopaxi, we started a new phase of expansion alongside Piaveri, our rose farm, starting with four hectares and gradually expanding to approximately ten hectares.

As the years went by, we continued to seek opportunities to grow. We acquired another property adjacent to Florisol, adding another four hectares to our operations. The acquisition of Clarivel in 1999-2000, our fillers farm, was another significant step in our growth. Thus, year after year, we moved forward cautiously but determinedly, always aiming for a steady growth of 10%, until we reached the approximately 45 hectares that make up Florisol today."

Q: Along the way, you surely faced significant challenges. Could you tell us about some of the biggest obstacles that Florisol has overcome over the years and how you addressed them?

José Ricardo:

"My father faced one of the greatest challenges when American producers launched lawsuits against rose growers and flower producers in Ecuador, accusing them of dumping practices, that is, selling below cost in the US market. While rose growers had numerous supporters, we, as exclusive chrysanthemum producers, were forced to defend ourselves alone. My father, at the helm of Florisol, took the responsibility of preparing all the information along with our lawyer in the United States. Thanks to a solid presentation in the three lawsuits, we emerged unscathed from penalties. It was a monumental challenge that we successfully overcame.

Throughout our journey, we have also faced tough times. I remember when Florisol started producing pompoms, a variety of spray chrysanthemums and we had to halt their production at one point. We have encountered setbacks, including the mortality of our flowers, such as gypsophila and hypericum, and we have been forced to abandon products we previously produced, leading to financial losses, as was the case with Kalanchoe a few years ago."


Floriscol and Co Chrysanthemum and cut flowers farm
Florisol&Co, chrysanthemum and cut flowers farm


"In 2013, we faced a terrifying attack from the leaf miner, an insect that lays eggs on the leaves, and whose larvae destroy them from the inside, forming mined tunnels. This problem threatened to close doors in important markets such as the United States, Chile, and Japan. Like this, we have faced numerous agronomic challenges over the years, but we have shown ourselves victorious thanks to our creativity and dedication.

We have implemented a variety of solutions, from the intensive use of vacuum cleaners to suck up the insects to blowers that expelled them with a plastic screen and glue. We also used traps, carefully selected infected foliage for irradiation, applied fumigations, and burned waste to prevent pupae survival. These solutions not only required considerable investment but also saved our crops in critical moments."

Q: Throughout this 40-year journey, what do you consider to be Florisol's most memorable achievements? Is there any particular milestone that you are especially proud of?

José Ricardo:

"Few producers in the world can claim that their product is the best, but my father achieved this milestone, and we proudly uphold it. For us, being able to affirm that our chrysanthemum is the best in the world is a truly extraordinary achievement, one that sets us apart uniquely in the industry. It's a bold statement that we back up with quality and dedication.

However, our success goes beyond product excellence. We are also one of the few farms certified by Fairtrade. This distinction, granted by an international institution, is the most rigorous there is. It certifies us not only for our commitment to the environment but also for the comprehensive protection and development of our workers, physically, intellectually, and professionally.

These two achievements are, for us, the most significant. They represent the culmination of decades of hard work, dedication, and passion for what we do."


Florisol quality flowers from Ecuador
High-quality cut flowers from Ecuador


Q: With four decades of experience in the industry, how would you describe Florisol's current situation in terms of production, market reach, and position in the floriculture industry?

José Ricardo:

"We are at a unique moment filled with opportunities that we can seize thanks to our strengths and the changes we are witnessing in the market. The exponential growth in demand from supermarkets presents us with a window of opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. However, we also face threats, such as the weakening of the wholesale sector, which has always been our main customer. We are in a market full of challenges that make this moment exceptionally crucial for our business.

But we do not shrink from these challenges; on the contrary, we face them with determination. We have taken a first step by entering the bouquet market, a decision of great importance to us. We have a unique position in this regard, as we produce a wide range of products ideal for bouquets. Additionally, we have the advantage of purchasing flowers from numerous producers with whom we do not directly compete."


Red roses from Florisol and Co


"Despite the threats we face, I am confident that we are perfectly positioned to capitalize on these opportunities. With determination and vision, we are ready to turn this moment in our history into a turning point that propels us toward success."

Q: What are the core values that have guided Florisol over the years? How have you remained true to these principles in an ever-changing business environment?

José Ricardo:

"For us, the most important thing is the social responsibility we share as a team. While we avoid the label of 'family', (as we do not seek to compare ourselves to that sacred institution in society), we are a group of people that behaves with familiarity and friendship. This connection is the fundamental pillar of our identity. We are a human team that understands each other, supports one another, and seeks happiness in our work. This is a premise we firmly hold onto and consider indispensable.

Furthermore, we adhere to fundamental values such as integrity and honesty. We keep our promises, even in the most challenging times, and always manage to overcome obstacles. These values are inherent to our company and define us as an organization that can be trusted over time."


Harvest of pink chrysanthemums in Ecuador


Q: What exciting plans does Florisol have for the future? Are there any strategic directions that you are considering exploring in the coming years?

José Ricardo:

"Our strategic compass has always been aimed at serving regional wholesalers worldwide. Despite shifts in the commercial landscape, our strength continues to lie with these key partners. We will uphold our commitment to them by providing exceptional services, consistently improving the quality of our products, and expanding our range. However, we cannot overlook the opportunity presented to us by supermarkets, an opportunity we are addressing and will continue to strengthen. Balancing these two strategic pillars is essential to ensure sustainable growth and a lasting presence in the global market."

Q: Finally, with forty years of history, what legacy do you hope to leave as owners of Florisol? And is there any special message you wish to convey to those who have been part of this journey alongside you?

José Ricardo:

"For us, the most important thing is to keep alive the vision that my sisters and I share. We want our company to be much more than just a profitable business. We want it to be a space where people can grow and find happiness while achieving financial success.

This philosophy was inherited from our father, and it's something we want to pass on to future generations. We strive to preserve the essence of a family-owned business, managed by our family and rooted in enduring values.


Jose Ricardo Davalos from Florisol
José Ricardo Dávalos


"We take pride in seeing how, over these forty years, we have positively impacted the lives of the 700 people who are part of our team. We have witnessed how working on our farms has radically transformed the lives of nearby communities. But we don't want to stop there. We want these family bonds, friendships, and fellowship that we have cultivated to transcend to more people. We want the commitment to doing things right, to living fully, and to caring for others to spread to the families and communities of our employees, contributing to the growth of social well-being.

To our customers, we express our heartfelt gratitude. They have been by our side in difficult times, providing exceptional support to Florisol. And in moments of victory, they have benefited from the fruits of our labor. We appreciate their trust and commit to continue working to ensure that this relationship lasts for many decades to come, benefiting both parties."


For more information, visit Florisol&Co's website.


Photos courtesy of Florisol&Co.



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