Ecuador will send abroad 15,000 tons of flowers to meet the demand of Valentine’s Day. The sector also has a new boarding point this year thanks to the resumption of cargo flights at the Cotopaxi International Airport.
The export increased of 1,000 tons in relation to the shipment that was made for the same holiday, in 2018. However, the floriculturists expect a similar amount of income, said Alejandro Martinez, CEO of Expoflores.
The hot weather that occurred during this rainy season advanced the production in the flower farms and, as a result, there is an abundance of flowers in the market. Due to the large amount of production, the price dropped, explained Gino Descalzi, general manager of the Fiorentina Flower plantation.
In addition, production costs are still a disadvantage for the sector. “These grow every year, not the sale prices of the flower,” said Pablo Viteri, manager of the flower grower Pacific Bouquet.
The activity of logistics and cargo for the shipment of the production started on January 20 and intensified since this week, at the airports of Quito and Latacunga. Flowers arrive at the ‘consolidators’, located in the capital’s airport.
92% corresponds to roses, which are the most valued and quoted in international markets, at this time of the year.
There, operators nimbly unload the products from the vehicles, weigh them and measure the temperature. The product is immediately placed in ‘pallets’. One by one, the packages form large blocks, which are accommodated with molds, according to the size and model of the aircraft, explained Roy Cisternas, general manager of Servipallet.
Another group of employees wait for cargoes in the cold room. Packages remain for about an hour and a half in this area, until they can be shipped. Last Wednesday's afternoon, four cargo planes waited for the flowers on the runway of Mariscal Sucre Airport, in Tababela.
The flowers were destined for Amsterdam (Holland) and, later on, they will be transported by land to Russia, said Tufiño. In total, before Valentine’s Day, it is expected that around 300 flights will depart from Quito and 6 from Latacunga, said Quiport and Expoflores.
The markets that await Ecuadorian roses are the USA, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Russia and Qatar - among others. Luis Galárraga, Quiport spokesman. said that this year a 3-6% increase in flower transport is expected.
Valentine's Day represents between 28 and 30% of annual sales. Hence, it is an extremely important period for Ecuadorian flower growers. Naranjo Roses exports natural roses, preserved and dyed, but the first ones - of red color - are the most demanded, as of now..
Carlos Gómez, owner manager of Naranjo Roses and vice president of the Floricultores del Sur Corporation, comments that the sector looks forward to the reactivation of Latacunga airport, after one year and 10 months of cessation of operations.
The union plans to increase routes and create a cargo consolidation zone, to avoid going to Quito for the service.
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