After a four-year hiatus, ExpoFlor Ecuador 2022 opened its doors to a floral extravaganza. FCI’s correspondent William Armellini travelled to Quito to attend the three-day event, which first began with professional tours of some awe-inspiring farms.
Event organiser and industry body Expoflores can reflect well on a successful 2nd edition of ExpoFlor Ecuador, held at Quito’s Metropolitan Convention Centre between 5-7 October 2022.
The positive buzz across the show floor didn’t go unnoticed, as exhibitor and visitor testimonials echoed the quality of contacts, stands and products.
Covid-19 delayed this semi-annual event, and the large crowds indicated a pent-up demand for people to meet face-to-face without mask coverings.
On day one, entrepreneurs invited industry professionals into their farms and workplaces. The first open house was at the breeding company Connectiflor/E.G. to see where new varieties are born.
When the company’s breeders invited them to try some crossbreeding themselves, it soon became apparent that rose breeding is an elaborate process that takes many steps to complete.
Developing rose varieties with improved yields, end-use quality and environmental performance is lengthy and costly. Breeders have to combine the best talent from across the globe, and the time required to create a commercial rose variety from ideation until product launch can take years. Growers test thousands of seedlings to find the best new varieties in hopes of finding one or two that will make the transition from selection to production.
The second professional tour stop was at Rosa Prima, one of the best and largest growers in Ecuador, and there you can visit their test greenhouse.
This is ‘Candyland’ for flower lovers. Imagine yourself in a four-acre greenhouse with views of the Andean mountains, surrounded by rows upon rows of newly created roses. Each plant posing with its new blooms reaches up into the sunlight, hoping they will be selected, much like a litter of puppies jumping and barking, waiting to be adopted.
The host invited his guests to walk the aisles to select their favourite bloom, followed by a fabulous breakfast in this wonderland.
The following day, the international guests embarked on a special tour to Jet Fresh Flowers, with company owner Mike Black showing the group around.
This boutique rose farm has taken employee happiness and care to a new level, with ‘Happy and Hippy’ being the roots of this new company’s style.
Natural Roses, garden roses, painted roses, dyed roses and more are what you will find here. A highlight of the social care of the company was the laundry room, where the employees can bring in their clothes from home, and Jet Fresh has them washed, dried, and folded for free.
Back in Quito, the stands at super show ExpoFlor Ecuador were grand, and the quality and quantity of flowers were amazing. The halls were packed with happy people, and that is what makes a good exhibition.
This trade fair was in its truest form, where business is focused and conducted. In the rose show, there were so many to see that it was hard to determine which you liked the best. The pictures on YouTube speak for themselves.
The ‘bar talk’ was about the situation in the Netherlands, where many flower farmers are going bankrupt or just not planting any crops this season. Gas and electricity prices have exploded, and growers realise that if there is no relief, many cannot afford to continue. This is a very fluid situation, and the outcome is very unclear.
The Ecuador trip also gave some insights into Ecuador’s indigenous protesters that had paralysed the country in June, blocking highways across the country and clashing with police. Protesters claim they have been disproportionately hurt by inflation, rising energy prices and austerity measures. Growers, in turn, point out that the protests caused considerable trouble for businesses. They sustain that many protesters include small flower growers who do not pay royalties for the flowers they sell.
It is a highly complex story, but the good news is that there is a dialogue between the flower breeders (whose varieties are being stolen) and the small growers to find some solution, hopefully, because many of these small growers grow excellent, sought-after flowers.
Quito is a big and beautiful place. It is a crowded city nestled high in the Andean mountains, full of history and an excellent place to hold such an event – if you are not in a hurry to get anywhere.
The growers here appear to be quite optimistic about the future based on the number of new greenhouses under construction in the North. It is said that at least 50 further hectares of greenhouses have been built recently.
Organisers, exhibitors, and visitors hail ExpoFlor Ecuador 2022 as a huge success. It will be interesting to see if Proflora 2023 in Bogotá will eclipse this fine show. The industry can’t wait.