Colombia’s blooming flower industry offers safety net to Venezuelan migrants

For Colombia’s flower industry, Valentine’s Day is the highlight of the year, with exports to over 100 countries and millions of harvested flowers across greenhouses scattered across the country.

The Valentine’s Day harvest represents 15% of Colombia’s annual flower exports, with some 5.7 billion flowers being sent to the United States, Japan, Canada, and the Netherlands, according to the Colombian association of flower exporters (Asocolflores).

Between January and February 2022, Colombia traded nearly 890 million flowers, according to the national statistics agency (DANE), generating thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in revenue.

Jennifer Hernández is one of the nearly 40 Venezuelan workers working in one of the sections of the Flores La Aldea flower farm located in the central town of Sesquilé, near Bogota.

She toils the flower beds wearing a light brown suit and gloves stained by the more than 38 varieties of carnations on the farm.

According to Asocolflores, the sector generates 200,000 direct and indirect jobs every year, with 60% of the jobs occupied by women.

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