“The run-up to Mother's Day has been challenging this year," explains Christine Boldt, executive vice president of the Association of Floral Importers of Florida (AFIF). Factors contributing to the challenge were issues with the weather in South America, logistics, unexpected high demand, and the recent strikes in Colombia. "Fortunately, the majority of the flowers were ready and arrived on time, making this year's Mother's Day a very pleasing one."
All challenges in a row
For the South American growers, Mother's Day season started off challenging already. "Early on, the weather created a challenge as it was delaying the crop. Fortunately, it improved enabling the crop to catch up, but logistics created another challenge, followed by the demand of the customers that was higher than anticipated. For the Colombians, the protests created another unanticipated challenge. And when the flowers arrived in the US, the next challenge occurred: the trucking shortage."
Protests in Colombia
When emphasizing the situation in Colombia, the last days of the Mother's Day season have been nerve-racking for several farms. Unfortunately, farms in Facatativa reported to have been terrorized by the protesters in Colombia. "They have threatened to burn our farms down and to burn down the transport we use to shuttle our employees," says Maray Smith of The Elite Flower, a large flower producer with farms in that area. "On top of that, the main roads to the airport have been blocked off and we find ourselves having to leave cargo behind due to this. In turn, this has caused extensive delays in our abilities to deliver products to the US in order to fulfill orders for our customers on the wholesale, Mass Market, and e-commerce spectrums."
Despite the great difficulties some farms experienced, all in all, the Mother's Day season has been very successful, and total exports may be even higher than the previous two years, says Augusto Solano, president of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters Asocolflores. "Despite the problems of civil unrest, mobilization, and transport capacity suffered by the country and added to the pandemic, the joint work between Asocolflores and the National Government had a positive impact to comply with international orders."
Good Mother's Day sales expected
By this time, all farms have shipped out their flowers and all flowers are in the US, ready to go to the final consumer. And expectations for this year's sales are high. "We expect high demand and we believe that the consumer will receive great fresh cut flowers. All in all, we hope that all US consumers purchase flowers for their Mom’s, wives, and other important women in their lives for this Mother’s Day."
Association of Floral Importers of Florida (AFIF)