Valentine and the flowers are closely linked. For this holiday, the Association of Producers and Exporters of Flowers of Ecuador ( Expoflores ) reported exports of 17,900 tons in 2019. 18,000 tons are projected for this year. Although those numbers show a higher volume, flower growers indicate that the price fell.
Carlos Gómez Naranjo , from Naranjo Roses , explained that in 2019 the kilo sold for $ 5.66, while in January 2020, the price was $ 5.50.
The reasons for the fall in costs are varied: there is high production , the climate inside and outside the country was unstable, but the national strike of October 2019 also influenced , as well as the new epidemic of coronavirus pneumonia .
But despite the low costs, flower growers are optimistic . The profits Naranjo Roses received in 2019 amounted to $ 10 million. By 2020, Gomez expects to receive $ 11.5 million.
Gino Descalzi, of Fiorentino Flowers , explained that until the beginning of February 2020, they shipped 8% more to the US and 6% more to Russia and Europe compared to 2019.
The effects of unemployment
October is key to floriculture. It is the month in which workers must make a specific cut to the plant to motivate their productivity to increase twice or even triple. The technique requires that there be a second cut in January. The goal is to have enough to export for the celebrations of both Valentine ‘s Day, Mother’s Day and the Dead.
At the beginning of October 2019, Ecuador experienced protests that prevented the normal development of the market. In the case of floriculture, the cutting technique planned for those dates was not achieved in some farms.
The stoppages left losses of $ 300,000 to Naranjo Roses , for example. In Fiorentino Flowers they lost $ 45,000.
But the losses were not only economic. Production had to be postponed in such a way that the second cut of plants could no longer be in January but will take place in this February.
In other places, the strike caused an overproduction. Having a lot of supply, but little demand, the price of the flower fell, said Alejandro Martinez , chief executive of Expoflores.
The sales for February 14 represent 30% of the commercialization in the farms dedicated to the export . “Selling it at a lower price is a blow to the box,” Martinez said.
In the Ecuadorian economy , flowers occupy the fourth position of non-oil products that generate greater profits, with an annual impact of $ 850 million in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Until September 2019, $ 679 million were exported.
On January 25, the Chinese year 4718 began . The festivities demand a large number of flowers, especially gypsophilas (or wedding veil), roses and chrysanthemums .
But the emergence of the epidemic , which began in the city of Wuhan in China , caused the party to be suspended in various parts of the country and, therefore, Ecuadorian exports also recorded losses. For example, “on two farms there are almost 100,000 stained stems absolutely canceled,” Martinez said.
Dyeing is focused on selling in China, which prevents other markets from acquiring it. In the last three years, exports to China grew. For 2019, this market left the country $ 11 million in profits .