For the last three months, the weather phenomenon La Niña has been causing constant rains in Colombia. As a result, flower crops are affected, as botrytis is thriving in these weather conditions. Growers are doing their utmost best to prevent this fungus from spreading, but often - and this is most frustrating - it cannot be identified at the farm, but it is spreading during transport. This is explained by rose grower Jorge Ortega of Matina Flowers, who is also dealing with this fungus and is trying to minimize the impact by checking the crop as strict as possible. Fortunately, the current Valentine’s Day preparations are expected to slow down the spreading.
Diego Bermudez, Diana Medina, and Jorge Ortega of Matina Flowers at the IFTF 2022 in Vijfhuizen, the Netherlands.
“If you let it spread, it is so difficult to control,” Ortega says. So, being as strict as possible is required. “If we see just a slight sign of botrytis, we throw away the harvested stem.” Over the last months, they have thrown away hundreds of stems. “And most frustrating is that we do not always see it at the farm,” he continues. “It then develops and spreads during transport.”
Valentine’s preparations will slow down spreading
Currently, many growers have started preparing their crops for Valentine’s Day. Usually, when pruning the plants, the spread of fungus will slow down, Ortega explains. “This is simply because the fungus will have less space to live and thrive.”
Strong US dollar against weak Peso
Fortunately, also some positive news for the Colombian growers; The US dollar is strong at the moment and the Colombian peso depreciated in value. In turn, it makes production more expensive but selling the flowers in US dollars has become more profitable. “Despite producing roses has become more expensive due to the increase in packaging material and fertilizers prices, the strong US dollar makes up a bit for that. So, all in all, we are still doing OK.”