Augusto Solano, Asocolflores explains:

How the Colombian floral industry is affected by the war in Ukraine

Russia used to be Colombia's second-largest export market for flowers, but since the 2014-15 Russian invasion of Crimea, volumes decreased and currently a small percentage of Colombian flowers are being shipped there. So, the Colombian floral industry, in general, is not much affected, but of course, the ones who are still exporting to this and the surrounding countries are. It all started right in the middle of the Women's Day (March 8) shipments, explains Augusto Solano of the association of Colombian flowers exporters, Asocolflores. Almost all flowers were shipped as planned, but what will the current situation mean for future sales?

Small market for Colombian flowers
Currently, Russia and Ukraine are not as big markets for the Colombian floral industry as they used to be. "Last year, 1,5 percent of the Colombian flowers (25 million dollars) were exported to Russia directly, and less than 0,5 percent to Ukraine (3 million dollars). Of course, also flowers were shipped to these countries through the Netherlands, but the total percentage remains low."

Payment concerns
Women's Day is the most important day for the growers exporting to Russia and almost all flowers have been shipped. But what about the payments? “For the ones who did not work with prepayment, they have two concerns; on the one hand, Russian banks are blocked from the international payment network, and on the other hand the devaluation of the ruble.”

Future sales
Another concern is what is going to happen with future sales. "We have to see what happens there", Solano says. Colombia exports to more than 100 countries of which the US represents 80 %. So, It is expected that they may go to premium niches in the US, Europe or other countries. And what about the logistics and above all, who but will they buy these types of flowers. "The flowers going to the Russian market are more the premium type roses. This is a different type of flower than those that are mostly being exported to the US. It is just a different product for a different market. So it may then affect the prices."

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