Colombia is well-known for its cut flowers, but did you know that the nursery industry is thriving all year round as well? In this article, Gustavo Ochoa, Commercial Manager at L&G Agroflowers, a supplier of seeds and starting material to Colombian growers, tells us more about the industry and its potential.
Over the last 20 years, the nursery industry in Colombia has been growing rapidly. According to Ochoa, this growth is the result of many factors. "On the one hand, Colombia has a privileged location that allows growers to produce a large variety of plants all year round. And there are more varieties and improved varieties on the market. With the return of Gloeckner in 210, for example, we could bring better varieties to the nurseries. On the other hand, Colombia has more than 50 million inhabitants, and the malls and department stores have grown significantly, benefitting plant sales. In Bogotá, for example, we have the biggest department store that sells plants at the Latinoamerican level."
Vivero Cinco Sentidos.
Key production areas
According to Ochoa, there are some key areas of production. One of them is San Antonio del Tequendama, which is about 25 minutes from Bogotá. "It is an area that has three thermal floors: cold, template, and warm. And this is why the nursery area can produce many different varieties, from a cyclamen to a philodendron." There are also highly organized production areas in Antioquia and the Valley.
Challenges in developments
When looking back at the challenges, educating the growers has been the biggest challenge, explains Ochoa. "For many years, the nurseries had a 'reproduction' concept. It took quite some time and effort to change it into a renovation mentality. This enabled companies like Vitro Plus, Syngenta, Dümmen Ornage, Bekeenkamp, and Ball to prove themselves and their genetics in Colombia. And they did. And nurseries like Cinco Sentidos are leaders in several of these genetics, under programs that we deliver throughout the year."
The nursery industry is still growing
The market of ornamental plants in Colombia is growing more and more every year, with nursery workers who care more and more about improving production, he continues. "Many of them began as employees and nowadays have their own crops."
Currently, most of the plants grown in Colombia are still sold in the national market, but over the last years, some companies (like Bromelias de Colombia, Plantas del Tambo, Vivero Tierra Negra, and more) have started to export their plants. "Of course, the plant export is not expected to become as big as the flower exports, but there we made a start."
And because of all this growth and developments in this sector, Colviveros, the Association of Colombian Nursery Growers, will be holding Expoplantas in September, from 20-22. At this show, L&G will have a Pavilion showing a lot of varieties from different breeders like Dummen Orange, Vitroplus, Panamerican Seed, Morel, Schoneveld, HilverdaFlorist, Benary, Syngenta. "They are all grown by the best nurserymen from Colombia."