Pablo Restrepo Samper, Excellence Flowers:
More Colombian roses for Chinese Valentine's Day
Pablo Restrepo Samper at the IPM Beijing 2016 in China
More room for Colombian roses
For about four years now, Restrepo has been exporting roses to China for Chinese Valentine's Day, and he is experiencing an increase in demand. "At the IPM Shanghai, that we attended last May, we met new clients and we received larger orders from our current clients." According to Restrepo, one of the reasons for this increase might be that there are fewer Ecuadorian roses on the Chinese market. "Russia used to be the largest market for the Ecuadorians, but due to the financial crisis, the volumes dropped and the Ecuadorians started to put their flowers on other markets, namely China. Over the years, the Ecuadorian rose became a very well-known product among the Chinese. However, as we see Russia's financial situation recovering, many Ecuadorian growers embrace this market again, which creates more room for the Colombian growers to grow in this market." And this is what Excellence Flowers did over the last year. Next to supplying roses for the Chinese Valentine's Day, they also supply roses for the Western Valentine's Day, which is also being celebrated in China in February. And for a couple of months now, they've been exporting roses on a weekly basis to Beijing, Shanghai and occasionally to Kunming.
Long stems only
However, growing in the Chinese market is not as easy as it may sound. According to Restrepo, there is one big limitation that is preventing many farms from growing in this country, namely the preferred stem length. "China has its own rose production area in Kunming, so the imported roses need to differentiate from these nationally produced flowers in such a way that they become interesting for the Chinese. And this is only when they have a stem length of 70 cm or above, a requirement of at least 80 percent of the clients. Unfortunately, we and any other rose growers are not able to produce very high volumes above this specific length. For example, our production is only 35-40% above 70cm", says Samper. And this limitation is preventing them and many other growers from expanding in this market. "It is something we can work on. By using the right marketing, for example, we might let them buy more 50 cm stems."
This year, Excellence Flowers is attending the Proflora, a large flower show that is being held from October 4-6 in Bogota, Colombia.
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Pablo Restrepo Samper