The determination of many governments to prioritize the food chain in the midst of the crisis caused by Covid-19 has affected many agricultural producers around the world, and Colombia - the world's second largest exporter of flowers - has been no exception. Caproflor, Geffa-Fenalco, and Colviveros came together to create the Intra-industry Group of Ornamentals (GIO), an associative movement of 663 Colombian flower, foliage, and plant producers responsible for 30% of the national production on 2,829 hectares. This new organization is working tirelessly in the reformulation of its competitive position.
The social media "Stay at Home" campaign has been this new Group's first joint effort. It seeks to stimulate local consumption of flowers, foliage and plants during the mandatory shelter-in-place order issued in Colombia. "We have been working with the Colombian Government to ensure that our products take their places back in different commercial channels such as department stores, florists, ornamental shops as well as their online presence so that families keep in mind that beyond their ornamental value, plants and flowers have a positive impact on people's mood and emotional health”, said Jairo Cadavid, president of the Association of Colombian Nurseries and Ornamental Producers, Colviveros.
The next step for producers is to launch an international campaign. Álvaro Villamizar, director of Caproflor, added that the flower growers are seeking to keep open commercial channels with importers, mainly with department stores, and want to promote mothers' season next May. They also want to make both logistics operators and customs authorities to understand that Colombian flower producers are taking all phytosanitary measures to guarantee the quality of their products in the current circumstances.
In turn, Hugo Osorio, manager of Hydraflora and president of the Board of Directors of Geffa-Fenalco, added that flower producers in Antioquia in general work to maintain their operation and additionally guarantee the sources of employment generated by the flower industry close to 150,000 Colombian families. “To continue, we continue to work with the National Government to guarantee the support of the different entities in aspects such as VAT refunds, the regulation of licenses for employees, reliefs and exceptions in the matter of credits, and exchange coverage, issues that will help us make better decisions”, concludes the trade association leader.
Finally, producers and marketers of live plants additionally work on different fronts such as supporting productive transformation, training processes aimed at facilitating electronic commerce and virtual training actions focused on aspects such as business continuity planning, financial liquidity and short-term financing scenarios, as well as tools to establish the impact of social isolation on ornamental companies in the coming months.
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