Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber
Florisol & Co celebrates 40th anniversary

"We preferred to move forward step by step"

"It all started in the 1980's when my uncle established the first flower farm in Ecuador", says José Ricardo Dávalos, the president of Florisol & Co. In the years that followed, the Ecuadorian flower farm expanded while being faced with various challenges and changes. Now, 40 years later, the company is still family-owned and consists of three farms: Florisol, Piaveri & Clarivel, growing 21 flower categories on 45 ha. In addition, it has its own broker division (Marvel Flowers) and its own tissue lab. In this article, Dávalos, tells us more about Florisol's history, the obstacles that they have overcome and their vison for the future.

The second generation of Florisol owners. From left to right: Verónica Dávalos, Piedad Díaz, José Ricardo Dávalos, Ricardo Dávalos, and María Piedad Dávalos.

An era of pioneering
So how did it start? Dávalos: "In 1984, floriculture in Colombia already had a history of around 25 years. My uncle Mauricio saw that the Tabacundo and Cayambe areas had a climate which resembled that of the Colombian savannah. He and my father had an ambitious idea: to bring that experience to Ecuador and start growing roses because it was already a well-established industry. This led to the founding of Agroflora, Ecuador's first flower farm."

Despite the challenges, the project took off successfully, and six months later, his father along with his uncle, decided to buy another piece of land to plant fruit trees. However, the advisor from Agroflora suggested, 'This land would be perfect for chrysanthemums'. Inspired by this idea, his father decided to embark on the adventure and opened Florisol farm.

The construction of Florisol farm.

It was a time of true beginnings, Dávalos continues: "I remember those days clearly. I was just twelve years old. Back then, the floriculture industry was just starting in Ecuador, and Florisol was the third flower farm in the country. The lack of infrastructure was evident; Florisol had no bathrooms, dining area, or warehouse; simply nothing. There were no cold storage rooms or options for air cargo; we were doing everything from scratch."

The fruit of their labor
Florisol farm began with three hectares of chrysanthemums, today it consists of 45 hectares of different flowers. Dávalos describes how Florisol gradually expanded over the course of time, saying: "My father was always a cautious man, his philosophy is reflected in Florisol's gradual growth. Unlike many who chose to expand rapidly, doubling or tripling their cultivation area overnight, we preferred to move forward step by step. I remember around the year 1992, we had the opportunity to acquire the 10-hectares neighboring property named Caucaso. In 1996, we purchased a property in Cotopaxi which allowed us to establish our rose farm, Piaveri. We expanded it from four hectares to approximately ten hectares. Later on, we acquired another property adjacent to Florisol, adding another fifteen hectares to our operations. The acquisition of Clarivel in 1999-2000, our fillers farm, was another significant step in our gradual but steady growth of 10% per year."
Today, Florisol has a portfolio of 21 flower categories: Football Mums, Spider Mums, Cremons, Disbud Balls, Oriental Lilies, OT Lilies, Roselilies, Alstroemerias, Delphinium, Solidago, Lepidium, Sunflower, Gypsophilia, Roses, Garden Roses, Spray Roses, Callas, Mini Callas, Eryngium, Gladdies, and tinted products.

He also emphasizes that the success of Florisol lies in the quality of their product, the legacy that they seek to uphold, and their customers. "Few producers in the world can claim that their product is the best, but my father achieved this milestone, and we proudly uphold it. We have the best chrysanthemums in the world. However, our success goes beyond product excellence. We are also one of the few farms certified Fairtrade. It certifies us not only for our commitment to the environment but also for the comprehensive protection and development of our workers, physically, intellectually, and professionally.

Chrysanthemums being grown in a Florisol greenhouse.

We take pride in seeing how we have positively impacted the lives of our 700 employees in the past four decades. Moreover, we couldn't have achieved these successes without the trust and support of our customers. We wish to continue these relationships for many decades to come, benefiting both parties. We want our company to be much more than just a profitable business. We attach great value to the social responsibility that we share as a team. We want to be a company that is known for its social-engagement, resilience, and trustworthiness. These values are intrinsic to our company and define us as an organization. This philosophy was inherited from their father, and it's something they want to pass on to future generations."

The Florisol team

Challenging times
However, throughout the years, Florisol has also been confronted with various challenges ranging from lawsuits, flower mortality, financial losses and pests. Dávalos gives some examples of the company's most challenging moments: "My father was confronted with a lawsuit from American producers who accused him and other Ecuadorian growers of dumping practices, that is selling below cost in the US market. While rose growers had numerous supporters, we, as exclusive chrysanthemum producers, were forced to defend ourselves alone. My father, at the helm of Florisol, took the responsibility of preparing all the information along with our lawyer in the United States. Thanks to a solid presentation in the three lawsuits, we emerged unscathed from penalties."

Dávalos' father, the founder of Florisol faced and overcame multiple legal and agronomical challenges.

In selecting new varieties they also faced challenging times. "I remember when Florisol started producing pompoms, a variety of spray chrysanthemum, and we had to halt their production at one point. We have encountered setbacks, including the mortality of our flowers, such as gypsophila and hypericum, and we have been forced to abandon products we previously produced, leading to financial losses, as was the case with kalanchoe a few years ago."

And, of course, they faced several agronomical challenges, but one of the most terrifying was an attack from the leaf miner in 2013. "This insect lays eggs on the leaves, and its larvae destroy them from the inside, forming mined tunnels. This problem threatened our access to important markets such as the United States, Chile, and Japan. We have implemented a variety of solutions, from the intensive use of vacuum cleaners to suck up the insects to blowers that expelled them with a plastic screen and glue. We also used traps, carefully selected infected foliage for irradiation, applied fumigation, and burned waste to prevent pupae survival. These solutions not only required considerable investment but also saved our crops in critical moments."

José Ricardo Dávalos, the president of Florisol & Co

Times of change
Dávalos points out that the current commercial landscape is changing, which comes along with both chances and challenges. He explains: "Nowadays, we are at a truly unique moment due to the changes we are witnessing in the market. The continuous growth in demand from supermarkets presents us with a window of opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. However, we also face the weakening of the wholesale sector, which has always been our main customer. We are in a market full of challenges that make this moment exceptionally crucial for our business. But we do not shrink from these challenges; on the contrary, we face them with determination. We have taken a first step by entering the bouquet market, a decision of great importance to us. We have a unique position in this regard, as we produce a wide range of products ideal for bouquets. Additionally, we have the advantage of purchasing flowers from numerous producers with whom we do not directly compete."

A Florisol bouquet

Future plans and strategic decisions
"Our strategic compass has always been aimed at serving regional wholesalers worldwide. Despite shifts in the commercial landscape, our strength continues to lie with these key partners. We will uphold our commitment to them by providing exceptional services, consistently improving the quality of our products, and expanding our range. However, we cannot overlook the opportunity presented to us by supermarkets, an opportunity we are addressing and will continue to strengthen. Balancing these two strategic pillars is essential to ensure sustainable growth and a lasting presence in the global market."

Florisol aims to serve both wholesalers and retail customers

For more information:
Florisol & Co
[email protected]