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Ecuadorian growers dealing with unusual weather

Damaged greenhouses and a decreased rose production. These problems were reported by some Ecuadorian rose growers as a result of the unusual and variable weather throughout the country. Over the last few weeks, it has been raining or was very dry, winds were strong, temperatures low and last Saturday, there was even heavy snowfall in the high mountains. Fortunately, the weather is starting to improve and the demand from Europe has been low.

Unusual weather
The summers in Ecuador are mostly characterized by dry weather with sunny days, cold nights and winds. This year, however, it was different in many parts of the country. "The nights and early mornings were very cold (around 3 degrees Celsius, but they could go as low as -4), reaching 25+ at noon", says a rose grower who has a farm in the country's capital, Quito.

And very unusual for this time of the year is the snowfall. Last Saturday, the high mountains all over the country were covered with snow during the night and the early morning. "Some roads were even blocked with ice", says another rose grower who is based in Lasso, Cotopaxi.

Click here to see the video of the snow fall on El Universo.

And then there's the strong winds. During this time of the year, the winds are usually strong, but this year, they seem to be stronger. "In the Cayambe region, the winds were the strongest, around 95 km per hour, and here in Cotapaxi, they were about 70 km per hour", says the Lasso based grower. 

Farms affected
Several farms were affected by the weather, but the extent varies particularly in regards to the damage greenhouses sustained by the wind. Most farms deal with a bit higher occurrence of fungus diseases due to the wet weather, and some greenhouse plastics were damaged by the winds. "We had damage to our plastics within the normal ranges for this season", says a grower based in the Cayambe region.

Unfortunately, we have heard worse cases. The farm of the Quito-based grower was damaged heavily and very dry weather made it worse. "The strong winds damaged around 5 hectares; plastic was torn apart which causes damage to the plants and increase of 'oidium', a fungus that develops in dry weather; most of the damage caused by this fungus is to foliage. We cannot export roses with this disease", he says.

Low demand
It is the summer season, which means a low demand. On top of that, demand was pushed down even further due to the heatwave in Europe. So, all in all, the lower production has not been catastrophic for many growers. However, demand is expected to increase soon as more flowers are demanded for September 1st, the first day of school for Russian children. On this day, celebrated all over the country, many children present their teachers with flowers. It is one of the most important days for Ecuadorian growers.

Weather forecast
This week, the weather conditions improved and are expected to return to normal by next week.

Publication date: 8/9/2018
Author: Elita Vellekoop



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