Colombia is facing unusually strong, and non-stop rains, a type of weather growers aren't keen on and particularly not in the run-up to a holiday. In this case, Mother's Day, which is celebrated in many countries on May 8. Fortunately, production was mainly on time, but getting these flowers to the customers was, and still is, the next challenge, Pablo Bazzani of Plazoleta explains. He grows several summer and focal flowers on around 30 ha in Bogota and ships them all over the world. Mother's Day is their most important holiday, and despite the challenges, he is quite optimistic about this year's results. "The flowers reached pretty reasonable prices compared to pre-pandemic holidays."
"There are always plenty of challenges in this business, and most of the time, they all get together to make it even more entertaining", Bazzani chuckles. The airfreight situation is a much-discussed topic, and it still doesn't seem to be improving. "There is a lack of aircrafts available for the holiday. The primary challenge now for the growers is to get their flowers to their final destination." According to Bazzani, there is not just one reason that is causing the lack of aircrafts. "Many other industries and countries, as Ukraine's freighter demand is way higher, are willing to pay for more expensive freights. On top of that, there are also mechanical damages on aircrafts that were supposed to take cargo off the country, and so on. As a result, most farms have been and are still begging to find out how to take their flowers to their customers."
How to deal with it?
"Straight forward, there's not much we can do other than ask our customers to understand the situation, and then they try to stretch the delivery timing as much as possible with their final customers. It makes all planning very difficult since we don't want to take the flowers out of our coolers if we are unsure they will catch up with the needed room. However, there is still some uncertainty about the booking even with the flowers at the airport."
For Plazoleta, Mother's Day is more important than Valentine's-Day, explains Bazzani. "Mother's day is usually a beautiful holiday for those who grow species other than roses. Mother's Day brings a more democratic demand in terms of diversity and colors so that farms can sell their whole assortment. And the fact that this holiday is celebrated almost everywhere globally makes it an even more interesting holiday. Even though roses are still in significant demand for this holiday, other species such as Alstroemerias, Sunflowers, Statice, Limonium, etc. - all flowers we grow- take a more relevant share in the market's needs and the choices of retailers."
According to Bazzani, the flower prices have been pretty reasonable compared to pre-pandemic holidays. And the fact that the period between Easter and Mother's Day is shorter than usual helped the prices reach these levels. "This year's Easter holiday was relatively closer to Mother's Day, which caused fewer offers available for the tight shipment frame, which is one week less than usual. Fortunately, despite the heavy rains, the production was mainly on time, resulting in the demand meeting the offer."
Once Mother's day goes by, Bazzani is afraid this summer will be tighter than last year. "The global situation, in general, makes us think we will get back to the usual dry summers when people prefer to do other activities that don't include flowers in many ways. Also, the economic situation in Europe and Russia's financial restrictions will affect farms like Plazoleta, which still have an essential market share in these regions. However, in the meantime, we will focus on taking care of our committed regular customers while we reset our plants to achieve higher quality and productivity from September on. This way, we will come up only with our everyday order needs trying to protect the market price for our brands and flowers."