"It is not just the foreign markets where the high demand is coming from, it has been difficult to meet the Ecuadorian demand as well," says Taisiya Kravchenko of Florisol & Co, an Ecuadorian flower farm. After local protests disrupted Ecuadorian floriculture in 2019 and 2020, being their toughest year yet, things are finally looking up for Florisol. Kravchenko shares her views on keeping their customers interested with their assortment, their future expansion plans, as well as the rising import costs.
Kravchenko's colleague Maya Zubkova, sales assistant, at Florisol's booth at this year's FlowersExpo 2021 in Russia.
Protests in 2019, followed by a pandemic
According to Kravchenko, 2020 was the toughest year for Florisol. "It was, of course, a tough year for many companies, but for us, the protests that had just occurred in Ecuador in October 2019 really affected our business. For several weeks, Ecuadorian floriculture was at a complete standstill. Therefore, we faced an unprecedented challenge of struggling for the flowers to get to their destination. However, these events taught us to become stronger and more flexible. Now, we are able to adapt better to new and unexpected situations."
Constant development of assortment
Luckily, 2021 has been much more positive. Kravchenko shares that part of Florisol's current high demand is the company's constant development of its assortment. "We are always searching and planting new varieties. We notice that our clients appreciate this because they can buy so many different types of flowers in one place. This is not only convenient, but it also saves them time. In addition, we think that the take-over of some Ecuadorian farms by the "Big Colombian Groups" is also affecting the supply chain, allowing wholesalers in the US to search for more flowers in other growers." For example, Florisol has a great demand for their alstroemerias, they have been planting new varieties and now carry over 25 in total. "In floriculture, it is important for your products to be refreshed frequently, otherwise your assortment will lose its attractiveness."
Ecuadorian floriculture blooming
And it is not just the foreign markets where the high demand is coming from. "As international markets are really demanding at the moment, this has definitively affected the local flower market. As part of the Florisol Group, we have a local company named –LatinFresh- that provides flowers to supermarkets, wholesalers, and local event planners in Ecuador. With the international demand being so high, it is difficult to provide enough flowers to our own local flower company; this is quite unique as Ecuador is one of the major flower producing countries."
18% additional import costs
While Florisol has dealt with several challenges these past years, the most complex to face have been logistical challenges. "The pandemic has disrupted the global flower transportation, which is something we still deal with every day. There are not many things we can do to solve this, but we are trying to maintain a much more active communication both with our customers and with our material suppliers. Another problem with logistics is getting fertilizers, agrochemicals, and packing materials. Most of these are imported to Ecuador, and import costs are very high at the moment. For example, packing material imports have increased by 18% for us."
Still, there is an exciting future ahead of them. "We are planning a fairly conservative growth, which goes hand in hand with the growth of our clients and the market in general. Our group of farms consists of Clarivel, Florisol, and Piaveri, and in all of them, we are currently working on expansions, giving special attention to more chrysanthemums, gypsophilas, roses, and spray roses."
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Florisol & Co