Luckily our sector is coming out of this crisis leaner, more efficient, and supplying an American market that has learned to appreciate and demand flowers at a higher level than ever before, explains Aviram Krell of Plantec Ecuador, a representative of over 5 rose breeders in Latin America with their base in Quito, Ecuador. Additionally they and their growers have seen a market that is shying away from older red varieties and is looking for new alternatives. "The Explorer variety has already established itself as the premium red rose in Ecuador and we have very high hopes for the new(er) variety Fortune, as we expect the number of planted roses to double in 2021."
Aviram Krell in Plantec's showroom holding an open "Explorer" rose
High prices for Explorer
Explorer is a red rose variety of Dutch breeder Interplant Roses and according to Krell, the Ecuadorian and Colombian Explorer have the best red rose prices in many European countries as well as Russia and high end supermarkets in the US.
High hopes for Fortune
In addition to the success of Explorer, the variety Fortune, bred by German rose breeder Kordes Roses, has more than 20 hectares being planted in anticipation of this upcoming Valentines, and at Plantec, they expect that Fortune roses are going to create a lot of buzz in the retail market. "Fortune roses have become famous here in Ecuador due to their vase life which regularly reaches 3 weeks in a normal room temperature ambiance. We are excited to see how the variety behaves after being sent through sea freight. We expect that a variety that lasts so long in a vase will not be affected by the duration of the sea freight."
Krell is expecting to see the amount of Fortune roses being planted in the year 2021 to at least double the amounts already being grown in Ecuador. "In Colombia Fortune roses are still relatively few in numbers but with several orders already being prepared for after Valentines, we can expect the Colombian market that prioritizes productivity to quickly embrace this new red rose."
2020 at Plantec
At Plantec they have had a very eventful and at times difficult year, explains Krell. "We along with everyone in the flower industry were forced to make difficult decisions, but fortunately with the blessing of hindsight, we are comfortable that the decisions we made were the right ones. One of the most controversial decisions we made was ironically not to make drastic changes in our rose selection program and our marketing department. For the last thirty years, the company has always had a strict policy that even in times of crisis both our selection program and the marketing department should never be cut, or downsized. We have maintained this policy through the many crises that we have been through. We work so hard to maintain this policy because we know that our selection program is our future, and not only the company's but by bearing in mind the position we have as one of Ecuador's most prominent new variety introducers, we also are closely intertwined with the country's future in this industry."
As difficult as this year has been, one of our proudest moments was, according to Krell, their our end of the year celebration. "We took the time to speak with all the different departments separately and with social distancing in order to individually appreciate all the different employees that made the past year better. We took time to make sure everyone knew how much their hard work mattered and we ended the Friday with holiday baskets for everyone."