The Friday effect and oversupply: the challenges for Colombia’s flower sector in 2020

Estimates from the grower's sector indicate that flower growers expect to export more than 600 million flowers during the main sales season of the year.

This period corresponds to the celebration of Valentine's Day, which, together with Mother's Day, accounts for more than 30 percent of the annual income of this sector, which is the country’s main generator of non-traditional agricultural exports.

The estimations of the Colombian Association of the Productive Chain of Flowers and Foliage (Caproflor) say that flower growers expect to market more than 600 million flowers up to Valentine's Day, which is next Friday, February 14.

However, Álvaro Villamizar, director of Caproflor, said that, compared to what is usually expected from Valentine's Day, this year's sales could be affected by two factors: the so-called Friday effect and the product’s oversupply.

The former refers to the fact that flowers will have to compete with other options for the day of love, such as restaurants and weekend trips, while the oversupply comes from Ecuador, a country that usually advances its production by a week and has already arranged the sale of all its shipments.

For his part, Felipe Ochoa, of Hacienda San José Farms, said that sales this year have been atypical, and although he has already sold his production, he has not received additional orders, as is the tradition for the Valentine's season.

On the other hand, he said that the price war with other producing countries has felt stronger this year, and that national flower growers have had to deal with some difficulties in the logistics on account of the oversupply recorded this season.

“When it comes to the domestic market, producers of ornamental live plants, such as orchids and potted roses, expect an increase in sales compared to the previous year. Even though the season is not particularly strong in Colombia yet, a new sales season is opening up little by little for rural nursery producers,” said Jairo Cadavid, president of the Colombian Association of Nurseries and Ornamental Producers (Colviveros).

Álvaro Villamizar said that, although Colombian flowers are exported to about a hundred countries, sales for Valentine's Day are especially concentrated in the United States market, which is the main destination for the national production.

“We also hope that the weather and the usual snowfalls of February will not take a toll on the market’s distribution chain next week, because as far as the demand, the economy and employment are concerned, the United States is going through a good moment and no contraction of the demand should be expected this year, except for the fact that Friday is not exactly the best day to give flowers,” said the union leader.

With more than 50 years of operations, floriculture has allowed Colombia to consolidate itself as the leading producer of export flowers in the world and to take second place as a global exporter.

It is estimated that about 150,000 Colombian families rely on the floricultural sector, the number one generator of non-traditional agricultural exports in the country, thanks to its great capacity to create jobs, which has made the sector the largest generator of rural employment in the country.

Source: El Tiempo

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