Top 10 cut flower exporters in the world

Cut flowers, as is suggested by their name, refers to flowers which have been cut from the plants often to be used as decorations indoors. Some of the more popular uses for cut flowers include them being placed in vases, garlands, and wreaths. While many gardeners and homeowners simply cut out the flowers from the plants in their own, private gardens, there is actually a vast international market for cut flowers, which includes both production and export as well.

Although cut flowers are generally raised for that very specific purpose, i.e. to be cut and used for decorations, they can also often simply be plucked from the wild. The growth and cultivation, which includes the cutting of the flower, are referred to as floriculture, which is a branch of horticulture.

Cut flowers are extremely popular at weddings, often used on a large scale there. In some places in Asia, specifically South East Asia, cut flowers are also used for worship. Sometimes, only the flowers are cut or picked, which are then used as an accessory in the hair, or for a buttonhole too.

Of course, cut flowers have a very small shelf life, as they begin to die immediately after they are cut. Hence, it is necessary to sell them right away. A few days is the most you will probably be able to get from a cut flower. Putting them in water and keeping them in the shade can prolong their lives somewhat, with some other treatments also existing which can increase the life of cut flowers. This can be contrasted with the export of apples, which is a much easier process since apples can be stored for a longer time comparatively.

In most countries, cut flowers are only grown for local use, as their short life means that any attempt to export them will most likely not succeed. For example, in India, cut flowers barely have a life of more than a day. Such flowers include marigold flowers, which are cut before dawn and then used within the same day as well. The countries which produce the most cut flowers in the world include China, India and as always, the United States of America.

Ever since air freight became a regular way of transporting goods, it is now not uncommon to see cut flowers grown in a place which is far away from the place where they will be sold. For example, roses can be produced in countries such as Colombia and Ecuador, and be sold in the United States of America.

However, the export industry has taken a bump in recent times. The total value of cut flower exports fell, from $21.1 billion to $20.6 billion. As mentioned earlier, cut flower production is now significantly geographically diverse as long haul transport has become more viable. International competition is also increasing in this regard, as the share of exports for countries already involved in the trade fell, in 2013.

To determine the 10 countries that export the most flowers in the world, we consulted the World Floriculture Map 2015, prepared by Rabobank. Without further ado, here is the ranking:

10. Israel

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 1%

9. Germany

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 1%

8. Italy

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 1%

7. Malaysia

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 2%

6. Ethiopia

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 2%

5. Belgium

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 3%

4. Kenya

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 7%

3. Ecuador

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 9%

2. Colombia

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 15%

1. The Netherlands

Percentage of total cut flowers exported in 2013: 52%

The Netherland has dominated the flower industry for many years, even though its share in the export industry of cut flowers has fallen, from 58% to 52%. This is due to the fact that the Netherlands grows a lot of flowers while also being one of the largest importers of flowers as well. Hence, despite the fall in its share, the Netherlands still exports more than half of all the cut flowers globally, allowing it to easily top the list of 10 countries that export the most cut flowers in the world.


Photo credit: Horti-Images

05/24/2016 - Insider Monkey

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