COL: The top-selling flowers abroad

20-03-2019    05:00   |    HortiBiz

Colombian flowers have more and more demand abroad and the top-selling ones are, in order: rose, carnation, alstroemeria, chrysanthemum and hydrangea.

These flowers reach distant countries such as United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and Lebanon, as well as United States, Japan, United Kingdom, Russia, Canada, Spain and Australia.

In 2017, the Colombian flower growing sector exported USD 1.4 billion and reached 7,700 hectares of production. By July 2018, flower exports totaled USD 970 million, which is why it is expected that they reach USD 1.5 billion for 2018, according to the President of Asocolflores, Augusto Solano, who also said that the export outcome is positive and that it is the result of the great demand for Colombian flowers worldwide.

Solano added that Colombia exports flowers to 97 countries and that it will start exporting to China, which is the largest flower producer in the world but lacks a quality product. China spends around USD 50 million in flower imports.

It is also noteworthy that 60% of the carnations imported by Japan are from Colombia, in spite of the fact that China is closer and that it produces a large quantity of that type of flower.

On the other hand, Solano said that United States is the main destination of Colombian flowers (80%).

“We are lucky to have the country with the strongest economy in the world as our main export destination.”

Other important markets for Colombian flowers are Japan, England and Russia. However, they have been a bit weak, “maybe because of the turmoil around the Brexit”, according to Solano.


In spite of the good results of flower exports, Solano said that it is essential that the sector gets more productive in order to be more competitive, because competition from countries like Kenya and Ethiopia is strong, as these countries have very low labor costs.

He also said that the sector has had difficulties with regard to transportation due to the lack of flights, routes and capacity in specific occasions, which increases the cost of the product.

“Air cargo is experiencing a lot of demand worldwide and the manufacturers of airplanes are more focused on making passenger airplanes.”

He adds that the greatest problem is in Medellín, because there are few imports by air there, as almost all the imports arrive in Bogotá. Then, the exports turn out to be very expensive because the airplanes don’t have cargo to bring.

“This situation has become critical, taking into account that between 30% and 40% of the cost of a flower in the market corresponds to transportation.”

According to Solano, weather has also contributed to this situation because the country has been experiencing a period of difficult weather, which affects the production and increases the incidence of pests.

“The weather affects us mainly in the first three months of the year, during the Saint Valentine's season, which is the most important period for our sales to the United States.”


·       The creation of value per hectare of the flower growing sector surpasses the one of any other agricultural product in Colombia.

·       The industry generates 14 jobs per hectare. More than 140,000 formal jobs in total.

·       3% of the production is bound for the internal market.

·       Colombia exports 250,000 tons of flowers.

*Edited and translated by Daltry Gárate based on information from Revista Dinero.

Photo credit: Procolombia

Comments (0)

No comments found!

Write new comment

More news