Flowers from South America
by Dave Marshall on October 22nd
With its exotic and colourful image in almost all walks of life, it should come as no surprise that South America has a strong reputation as being one of the most significant continents when it comes to exporting flowers on an international scale. Whilst the traditional blooms such as roses and carnations retain their universal appeal, the warm climates of Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Mexico mean that they can supply the world with our demand for more tropical varieties. Exports to the UK are predominantly flown in although shipping crates across the Atlantic can prove more cost effective so long as travelling conditions are managed well.
America is unsurprisingly the biggest consumer of South American flowers, Ecuador and Colombia collectively supply approximately 70% of the United States' total flower supply with Colombia alone sending more than 3.9 billion stems a year. Whilst coffee remains the biggest agricultural export, 'floriculture' accounts for over 110,000 farming and growing jobs, 60% of which is made up of women and children, and a further 94,000 jobs that depend upon the industry such as the retail and wholesale markets.
As with most industries, South American flower growing has seen its fair share of disappointments over the last couple of years, particularly as the credit crunch sets in and people start to make cut backs in those things that are deemed to be more of a luxury than a necessity. The impact has been particularly great here because of the time and cost of exporting, particularly on those blooms such as roses which can be obtained from almost anywhere. With that in mind, there has been a significant focus in trying to push those more exotic flowers such as lilies and orchids and other flowers that are native to South America.
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