Catalina Arango, Flores del Este

Why are Colombian cut hydrangea exports decreasing?

Why are the Colombian cut hydrangea export figures decreasing? It is a question that Colombian hydrangea grower Catalina Arango of Flores del Este asks herself after receiving the statistics that were published by the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, Asocolflores, recently. 

The cut hydrangea is the 5th most important export flower of Colombia in terms of value and the 2nd in terms of production area. For several years, both export in volume and value is increasing and now, for the first time figures seem to go down. "For the first time in 4 years exports are decreasing - hydrangeas have a tariff position in Colombia since 2015", says Arango. 

According to the statistics from January till May 2019, published by Asocolflores, numbers are down. In value 31 million USD was exported -  which is 4.7 percent lower compared to the same period in 2018, and in volume, 8,365 ton was exported - which is 3.5 percent lower compared to the same period in 2018.

Growers are impressed by this number and are suffering to sell hydrangeas nowadays and do not know the reason. "Fortunately, Flores Del Este is doing well and we did not notice a decrease in demand and volume, but like all other farms, we do see a decrease in prices. It is now the most competitive season since we started selling hydrangeas 20 years ago."

The main market for hydrangeas is the US with 76.9% in value, so the decrease in value and volume probably originates from this country. And the statistics show; in Value, the exports to the US decreased by 5.5% and in tons by -4.4%. Also to Canada, the second main market with 3.3% in value, exports decreased (value -19.2 %  and -17.2 tons). Out of the 8 export countries only the third and fourth export countries (Korea and the Netherlands) there was no decrease measured. See below the decreases in export value and volume of the other countries (fifth till eighth major export countries):

  • Japan: decrease: value -1.6 %  and increase in +1.6 % tons 
  • China: decrease: value -27.6 %  and - 20.2%
  • U.K decrease: value -22.7 %  and -21.6 tons 
  • UAE: decrease: value -16,3 %  and -17.7 tons 

Interestingly, the exports of all flowers from Colombia to the world have increased in dollars (+3.4%) and volume (+1.9%), from January to May 2019, compared to the same period in 2018.

But what could be the reason of the decrease in hydrangea exports?

The main market for hydrangeas is the US, so the decrease in value and volume probably originates from this country. But what could be the reason of the decrease?

Arango shares her possible theories. One is that the hydrangeas might be over-saturating the market. In a previous article, Arango already pointed out that the value of hydrangeas was dropping and probably because of the increasing acreage of this crop. Another might be the bad quality of many hydrangeas on the market."Many farms deliver bad quality flowers, bad phytosanitary conditions and customers might have gotten tired of fumigation?", she says. "Or are other products, greens for example, being preferred over hydrangeas? And what about the Dutch hydrangeas, are those products a better choice? Do they have fast and cheap logistics to the final destination?"

The decrease is still a mystery, so if you have any idea where it could come from, feel free to send us an email. 

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