Expoflores reviews 2019

"Despite this year’s tough circumstances, the COVID-19 outbreak has brought transformation and innovation"

In this article, Daniela Contreras, Communication Coordinator at Expoflores looks back at the year 2020.

By: Daniela Contreras-Expoflores

Despite this year’s tough circumstances, the COVID-19 outbreak has brought transformation and innovation. Expoflores has delivered an accurate and personalized service to keep the Ecuadorian floriculture industry alive by providing aid, support, and guidance to tackle this year challenges.

Expoflores organized and adapted its business model to the main needs of its members by supporting the growers in different areas so they can maintain their businesses. For instance, Escuela de Floricultura modified their face-to-face trainings to webinars and online sessions. The main topics were all related to legal advice, technical support, leadership, marketing and sales strategies during crisis, etc. All courses were constructed and customized to support the needs of the members. Free webinars were delivered daily to attend different requirements. The outbreak gave us the opportunity to get to know our members better, presenting them with innovative proposals in agriculture technology, efficient crop management and irrigation methods.

In the meantime, Flor Ecuador Certified® developed a Biosafety Module in its Checklist, forming part of an updated version V3.1. With this chapter two certificates are issued: a) Certificate for Flor Ecuador Certified® (approved by Agrocalidad - Ecuador’s National Plant Protection Organization - to be homologated with its BPA certification); and b) Certificate of compliance for Biosafety Protocols.

Flor Ecuador Certified guarantees our workers’ safety and health. Due to the pandemic, compliance with new biosafety measures are required in every farm to guarantee the safety of employees in each area. The prevention of new COVID-19 cases spreading is a priority. Employees should feel safe at work in order to continue producing high quality roses.

Flor Ecuador Certified has reviewed these biosafety protocols according to the needs and characteristics of each farm considering the requirements of national and international organizations that have issued guidelines for the control and mitigation of COVID-19. The main focus is to first evaluate existing biosecurity protocols. Secondly, the evaluation of independent protocols such as: waste management generated by COVID-19, entrance inspection, worker registration (so that in case of infection an epidemiological fence can be put into place), social distancing measures, and the proper cleaning and disinfection of working areas are also considered.

Furthermore, Expoflores launched its’ new APP: APC (that stands for Aplicación para procesos de cultivo in Spanish), which means Growing Process APP, and it is free and exclusive for Expoflores members. This APP seeked the process automatization of counting the phenological growth stages of roses and the delivery of efficient solutions such as counting tools, accurate results of the count carried out, adjusted projections to the farm reality, and comparative reports. These types of tools allow the flower growers to optimize time and resources for their technical and sales teams.

Moreover, the Ecuadorian roses were included to the Generalized System of Preferences of the United States of America. Since November-2020, Ecuadorian roses have entered US market without paying the 6.8% tariff. This negotiation will allow

Ecuadorian growers to become more competitive. This outcome was reached due to the collaboration and support of Ecuadorian and American governments, Expoflores members, SAF, AFIF, and WFFSA.

In addition, Expoflores has been supporting the main phase of the negotiations for a Commerce Agreement between Ecuador and the United States that will bring new opportunities and advantages for the growers, enterprises and Ecuadorian economic development.

Expoflores members have proved themselves that union and trust is one of the most important characteristics to overcome this unexpected situation. We are still facing difficult times, even though we have become stronger as an Association. Together we have overcome fears and have learned unique lessons. As a result, we have grown as colleagues, leaders, businesses, and industry for our people and country.

As Expoflores, we wish you all a successful 2021, mainly with health so we can continue to spread joy and hope around the world with our beautiful Ecuadorian flowers.

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