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Lily grower René Kuiper, Expoflora:

'Costa Rican Mother's Day elevates sales in low-season'

Mother's Day is one of the most important holidays in Costa Rica and is celebrated with lots of flowers on August 15. Even Costa Rican flower farms that are specialized in exporting their products take this opportunity to elevate their sales in a period that is known as low-season. Lily grower René Kuiper of Expoflora, for example, mainly exports lilies to the US, but increased his production for this special day.

Kuiper in the greenhouse. Expoflora cultivates lilies in a 20ha greenhouse.

Mother's Day in Costa Rica is a little bonus for Expoflora. Year round, they export about 95 percent of their production volume (300,000 stems a week during high season and 150,000 stems a week during summer) to the US, but particularly for this holiday they grow an additional 100,000 lilies. "Usually, the second quality lilies stay on the local market as they are too ripe to export or have some small flowers, but for this holiday we also offer some premium quality lilies on the local market. Some local buyers come to our farm to pick up the flowers."

Next to lilies, Kuiper also grows some tulips for Mother's Day. "These flowers are also well demanded for this holiday, but we do not export them. It is more something we do for fun."

Rose #1
In Costa Rica, the lily is the second most popular flower for Mother's Day after the rose and followed by the tulip. Roses, however, are not cultivated in Costa Rica anymore and are therefore being imported. "About 30 years ago, they grew roses, but the cultivation soon shifted to Colombia and Ecuador as the Costa Rican climate is too humid. Nothing is left, just some small hobby growers that supply the local market. So, we need to get them elsewhere and this is something we do too. On a weekly basis, we import around 10,000 roses from Guatemala. And for Mother's Day, this volume increases to about 70,000 to 80,000 stems", says Kuiper.

Start season
Early September, the season will start again for Expoflora. "Then, we will increase our production by over 50 percent and start growing at full capacity till June. The peak will be between January and Mother's Day in the United States", he says.

For more information
Expoflora, S.A.
René Kuiper
Email: [email protected]