The Colombian flower industry wants to prevent logistical and health problems from affecting Valentine's Day sales, which account for around 15% of the annual total. For this reason, they are preparing an improved version of the "Petal Plan", a security and coordination device, to ensure a smooth development of trade at this time of the year, in which flowers create 20,000 additional jobs.
Although Valentine's Day is not massively celebrated in Colombia, its flower industry does. On Valentine's Day, it is customary to give flowers as a gift in large markets such as the United States, which results in one of the biggest sales days of the year for flower growers.
According to information from Asocolflores, the prospect is that more than 650 million stems will be exported for Valentine’s Day, mainly to the United States; a figure that represents about 15% of its total exports for the year.
However, logistics and transportation problems are still an issue that growers are working on to be able to guarantee the availability of the product and make sure they have the capacity to meet their orders. In this regard, Augusto Solano, president of Asocolflores, said that "it is important to keep in mind that much of the success of flower exports depends on the logistics chain. Despite the country’s extreme health-related conditions, flower growers have managed to maintain their working conditions by implementing strict preventive and hygienic measures. This huge effort has made it possible to have the product supply to meet Valentine's Day orders, but we depend on the availability and timeliness of international flights, maritime transport conditions and any new restrictions that countries may enforce.”
Thus, the implementation of the so-called Petal Plan, a security and coordination device with all the authorities (ICA, National Police, Dian and Supertransporte) and the various agents of the logistics chain (airports, ports, cargo agencies, airlines, among others), has played a key role in ensuring mobility and the flow of cargo, as well as in the prevention of illegal activities.
"The Petal Plan, created and managed by the sector since 2006, boosts the systematization of different processes in the sector’s logistics chain to prevent physical contact and reduce the risks of contagion by Covid-19," says Solano.
20,000 additional jobs
Floriculture continues to be one of the most important sources of formal employment in Colombian agriculture. That is why, according to Asocolflores, they have made an immense effort throughout the pandemic that has allowed them to preserve the 150,000 direct and indirect jobs that this activity generates. "If we also take into account that 20,000 temporary jobs are created during this Valentine's Day season (which also comply with all the legal requirements), it is clear how great of a contribution this sector makes to employment generation in the country," said the president of Asocolflores.