For the Colombian flower growers, 2022 was marked by strengthening a sustainable activity that generates decent and formal employment, welfare for its communities and workers, and inspiring experiences for the consumers and processes involving top-quality standards of social, economic, and environmental development, which are the core of flower exports to more than 100 countries.
The Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, Asocolflores, led and supported different types of activities that flagged the path of the Colombian floriculture sector in positioning itself first in line of the global floriculture on various fronts, such as:
Corporate responsibility and shared value
Projects of great value for the collaborators of the Colombian flower-growing sector flourished in these areas. For example, the Floriculture Sector Declaration of Equality, promotes suitable actions geared towards the development of women engaged in flower activities. Also, other events for the welfare of the workers that cannot be overlooked are the 2022 Talent Show and the 2022 Flowerfest, two spaces created to contribute to their well-being through the integration of various leisure activities and artistic representations such as song, dance, and the development of flower arrangement courses and entrepreneurial conferences highlighting the importance of strengthening ties and family work. Also, the Human Management Meeting was held to discuss new challenges and opportunities for the Colombian floriculture sector in the near future.
Support to small Colombian producers
Through a technical training agreement with the municipality of Piendamó, South West of the country, 6,241 attendees learned about transfer of knowledge, technology development, pest mitigation, commercial placement, commercial positioning, and preparation of bouquets. Likewise, the Rural Women Convention was developed, with the purpose of supporting and strengthening the social relations of rural women from the municipality of Pereira through floriculture as an economic activity, developing and building skills in showcasing, sales, and organization of events.
Care of the environment is a priority for the Colombian flower industry
The carbon print tool was developed to attain a 30% reduction goal by the year 2030. Also, the post-consumption program strategy was developed so that all post-consumption wastes generated by the farms are submitted for proper disposal. Another program is the rooting beds, as part of the action plan implemented for the rural flower-growing community. Following this same line of thought, the Florverde Sustainable Flowers Certification celebrated and presented the World Sustainable Flower Day video. A day that gathers all sustainable flower producers around the importance of each day’s work. The Florverde Sustainable Flowers seal participated and became a world reference sustainability agricultural benchmark during “The Global Produce & Floral Show”. An event organized by the International Fresh Produce Association (IFPA) in the city of Orlando, Florida, gathering important supermarkets, wholesalers, retailers, and flower importers from different countries around the world.
Innovation, positioning, and networking in Colombia
At the national level, Colombia held significant activities for the development of the flower-growing sector, its innovation, and trade:
- Dianthus Week Colombia 2022 – Presentation of 250 new species of carnation (dianthus) to producers from Colombia, the United States, Japan, and Canada.
- First Floriculture Congress – It brought together 80 affiliated companies and 200 attendees to discuss the most important issues in store for the sector, consolidating the “NextGen” strategy: an initiative of Asocolflores’ Board of Directors to “harvest” new generations.
- Chrysanthemum Week – Organized by 10 breeder companies present in Antioquia, with full support from Asocolflores, the event established practices to generate new business and boost the new exports of this flower, with the participation of the Association of Perishable Products (PNA), which brings together the most important supermarket chains in the United States.
- Siflor 2022 – Brought together representatives from 8 countries and over 400 attendees to discuss technical issues, innovation, nanotechnology, the significance of business ethics, and much more. Prior to its closure, the José María “Pepe” de la Torre Innovation Awards were presented, and the book Los trips en cultivos comerciales [Thrips in Commercial Plantations] was launched.
- Discussion about Thrips and Botrytis – Presented to the attendees the most recent progress from 6 research papers of the American Floral Endowment (AFE) on issues related to these two sanitary problems. Asocolflores is one of the main sponsors of these AFE projects.
National and international presence and relationships
As a part of the Colombian floriculture sector positioning, Asocolflores held the First Floriculture Congress in the city of Cartagena. The purpose was to facilitate a space of recognition for the industry and its workers, apart from serving as a forum of knowledge for conferences and information related to the sustainability of the flower-growing activity.
Asocolflores was present at various important global scenarios, such as Expo Flor Ecuador, a fair with the participation of over 1,800 buyers from 110 companies representing countries such as the United States, Colombia, Holland, Guatemala, Spain, and others. Likewise, it participated in the International Floricultural Trade Fair 2022 that took place in Holland, where the presence of 16 Colombian companies stood out, showing the diversity of Colombian flowers. Another event
was the Canada Showroom 2022, which gathered together 600 people, 20 buyers, and where 170 business meetings took place to strengthen existing commercial bonds and generate new trading spaces.
On the other hand, Augusto Solano, Asocolflores CEO, was elected in June as President of the Board of Directors of Union Fleurs, with a home office in Brussels.
Significant international boosting campaigns were held in countries like Korea, where exhibitions and floral workshops were held in renowned venues such as the Monday Market and the Lotte Shopping Mall. In Japan, promotion activities took place at the Colombian Embassy and the well-known Aoyama Flower Market in Tokyo. Also, in the United States, where the beauty of Colombian flowers overwhelmed Miami in exhibits like the Art Basel and the Christmas and Love Flower Show.
Avant-garde in logistics for the agricultural sector
A good part of the success of flower exports depends on the logistics chain. In the midst of the extreme sanitary restrictions that the country had to observe, the flower producers secured their working conditions under strict sanitary and prevention measures. In this huge endeavor,
and thanks to Asocolflores’ Petal Plan –an initiative seeking to coordinate the logistics chain with the Colombian authorities to promote good practices and diminish risks related to mobility and flawless cargo movement− it was possible to deliver, with good quality and timeliness, the international orders for Saint Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, and Christmas, the holidays when flowers have more demand. Simultaneously, a new Asocolflores office was opened at the cargo terminal of the El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá. With the help of 75 students from Universidad de la Sabana [La Sabana University], data collection was carried out to identify ground transport
operators’ dwell time factors at the terminal. The Foreign Trade Workshop and the Asocolflores Macroeconomic Seminar were carried out with the objective of showing the attendees involved in the Colombian floriculture foreign trade processes an update on the international trade scenario. Lastly, a Cooperation Agreement was
signed with BASC, granting benefits to Asocolflores’ affiliates on issues related to the security of their foreign trade operations.
In short, 2022 was a rewarding year for the Colombian sector, where the teachings and experiences that remain are the result of Asocolflores’ relentless work on behalf of all the Colombian flower-growing sector. “We are convinced that in 2023, Flowers of Colombia will continue to arrive in over 100 countries around the world, displaying everywhere the diversity, quality, and variety for which Colombian flowers are renowned.”
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