Proflora 2023 Review

Asocolflores, the official voice of Colombia’s flower cut flower and cut foliage export, hosted its 30th Proflora show at Bogotá’s Corferias convention centre between 4 and 7 October 2023. There were celebrations all around this year as the 2023 Proflora show coincided with Asocolflores’ golden jubilee.

Bogotá is the capital of Colombia and has 7,5 million inhabitants. It is the country’s foremost financial, political, and cultural centre.

Colombia is a parliamentary democracy, with ex-guerrilla fighter Mr Gustavo Petro being the country’s 17th and first-ever left-wing President. Colombia has become Latin America’s 3rd economy and boasts a population of 52 million people. Fresh-cut flowers and cut foliage rank fifth in the country’s top 10 export products after minerals, coffee, gems, and animal/vegetable oils.

The USA is the number one export destination for Colombian-grown flowers, with Miami serving as the most important logistics hub. Virtually all Colombian growers/exporters operate a customs border location in Miami.

In 2022, the export value of flowers increased by 22.2 per cent to € 1.5 billion. Colombia is now the world’s second-largest flower exporter. By comparison, the Netherlands exported floricultural products worth € 11.5 billion (-/- 4%) in 2022, and the total Dutch export of agricultural products in 2022 was € 104.7 billion.

Asocolflores is Colombia’s trade association representing and defending the interests of Colombian flower exporters, with the leading growers and exporters as members. Asocolflores bridges the Colombian flower industry, the government, relevant research institutes, and other stakeholders in global floriculture.

The association’s management board comprises flower growers – and exporters. Its Executive President is Mr. Augusto Solano. Since 13 June 2023, Solano succeeded Richard Fox as Union Fleurs’ President.

Next to organising Proflora, one of Asocolflores’ primary tasks is to promote Colombia worldwide using their ‘Flowers of Colombia’ tagline.

Together with 45 employees, Asocolflores is much more than a promotion organisation as it actively seeks solutions for today’s environmental, societal, and economic challenges facing the Colombian floriculture industry.

Florverde Sustainable Flowers is the country’s certification scheme and works closely with FSI (Floriculture Sustainability Initiative).

Harvesting Proteas at Rosamina, which began as a rose farm 30 years ago, is now a business that grows cut foliage and a diverse range of Proteaceae (including Leucadendron, Protea cynaroides, and Leucospermum) on over 42 hectares of land in the Bogota Savannah. Although the name Rosamina may suggest otherwise, the company no longer focuses on growing roses.

In Colombia’s flower industry, women with a 60 per cent share are overly represented in the workforce. The social well-being of the families is an important responsibility.
Asocolflores runs training programmes for families working in the sector, which Lucy Monchaux de Velez initiated. These training courses stimulate suitable housing for employees and have programs to encourage, protect and improve the natural environment around the nurseries.

On Proflora’s opening day, the inaugural Lucy de Velez Award for Social Responsibility and Shared Value was presented to MG Consultores SAS.
Proflora’s show organiser is Ms Cristina Uricoechea. She hailed the 2023 show as a success, referencing the 300 exhibitors and 7.000 visitors from 60 countries.

As part of Proflora’s top-notch educational programme, green professionals embarked on a full day of farm trips.

I had the honour of visiting Riofrio Bouquets and Rosamina Farm. Riofrio Bouquets is one of the giant bouquet makers in Colombia, employing 800 staff up to 1,400 in the Valentine’s and Mother’s Day seasons.

Sixty per cent of the employees are women. Riofrio Bouquets exports the bouquets to the USA (for more information, see

Rosamina Farm grows 50ha of Proteas in the open. Most people think Proteas can only grow in South Africa. Still, here we saw the most beautiful Protea varieties and Leucadendron and Leucospermum varieties of excellent qualities, as appeared later that week as the winner of the variety competition held at the Proflora. The owner, Eli Perez and his staff guided us around this impressive nursery (see / or ).

FCI has already published the results of the Outstanding Variety Competition (see November 2023 issue ‘Proflora makes a colourful comeback’ by Marta Pizano). ‘Get to know more about the Florverde Sustainable Flowers Certification’ was conducted by Daniela Espana, director of Florverde Sustainable Flowers (FSF). She introduced herself as the new director of FSF and explained what an exporter or grower has to fulfil to be certified by FSF.

Toni Bruggink, Chairman of the Floriculture Sustainable Initiative (FSI) and Jeroen Oudheusden, Executive Officer of FSI, confirmed that Florverde and Kenya Flower Council are the only two organisations in the flower sector who comply with FSI requirements: the three different scopes necessary in future: the GAP requirements, the Environmental requirements and the social scope (advise FSI: do a social risk assessment). The goal of FSI is 90% responsible production and trade volumes by 2025 in the world ( You also can contact Jeroen Oudheusden directly by sending an email to

On Thursday, 5 October, we had the Networking lunch with the board and the Executive Team of Asocolflores. Mr Terril Nell was honoured by Asocolflores for the many years of terrific research through which the floriculture industry developed so well.

The Trends in Logistics conference was in Spanish, which I do not speak, so I missed many important details. However, judging from Maersk’s presentation on sea versus air freighted flowers, it is clear that sea freight will become more important for flowers.

Although air travel is faster, this mode of transportation will always be much more expensive. Flowers with excellent keeping qualities such as carnations and Chrysanthemums Sea transport is a good alternative for flying.

Asocolflores seeks to help ensure its members produce flowers and cut foliage responsibly, respecting workers and the environment. As such, it is a shining example for many other trade associations in global floriculture.

This article was first published in the December 2023 issue of FloraCulture International.

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