In Chía, Colombia, just 10 kilometers from Bogotá, flower farms are in full swing. Skilled workers, mostly women, are busy harvesting red roses, which are highly sought after for Valentine’s Day. This is a crucial part of Colombia’s flower industry’s broader initiative. The industry relies heavily on the U.S. market, with 80% of its exports going there, and aims to boost sales during this season.
Employment and economic impact of Colombia flower industry
The Valentine’s Day period holds importance for Colombia’s economy, creating around 27,000 temporary jobs, with women taking up 65% of them, as stated by Asocolflores, an association of Colombian flower growers. The flower industry, which achieved record-breaking exports exceeding $2 billion during the pandemic, now encounters a fresh challenge as life returns to normal post-pandemic, and U.S. households scale back their flower purchases.
Despite the possibility of economic downturns and inflation in the U.S., the Colombian flower industry remains optimistic. In preparation for Valentine’s Day 2024, the industry has set a goal to export more than 700 million stems, primarily to the U.S. market. Colombian flowers are renowned for their diversity, boasting 1,600 varieties and approximately 60 different species. Their exceptional quality is characterized by long-lasting and vibrant blooms. This year’s Valentine’s Day exports are substantial, with approximately 52,000 tons of cut flowers shipped, equivalent to roughly $380 million.
While the U.S. serves as the primary market, Colombian flowers also find their way to approximately a hundred other countries, including Canada, Japan, Spain, and Great Britain. This extensive distribution underscores the global importance of Colombia’s flower industry and its prominent position in the international market.