The 2013 edition of Proflora opened at the Corferias convention centre in Bogotá on Wednesday 2 October, 2013. Now in its 21st year, Proflora has grown into Colombia’s largest and most important cut flower oriented trade show taking place every two years.
Colombia is the world’s second largest flower exporter. According to the latest statistics Colombia has over 6,500 hectares dedicated to commercial flower production. The country’s cut flower exports in 2012 were valued at US$ 1.270 million. The bulk goes to the United States (US$ 960), Europe and Russia (US$160) and other parts of the world (US$150). Roses make up the lion’s share. Over the last five years, the sector has achieved a growth of over 25%.
The most important products were: bouquets (40% of the export), roses( 30%), standard carnations (11%), Chrysanthemums (10 %) and other flowers such as Alstroemerias, spray carnations, orchids, Gypsophila, Aster and Gerberas (9%). Only coffee represents a higher export value (US$1,9 billion) than Colombian flowers.
Proflora’s grand opening celebration took place at the Corferias convention centre on Wednesday 2 October, 2013 and the Colombians know how to do that. From the over 800 guests in attendance at Proflora’s opening ceremony, the extent of the relationship of the country’s floriculture industry (in particular that of Asocolflores) with the upper echelons of the nation’s government is evident.
Seated at the head table with the nation’s president was Colombia’s new Minister of Agriculture, Ruben Dario Lizarralde, along with Robert van Embden, Dutch Ambassador to Colombia – representing Proflora 2013’s Guest Country, The Netherlands.
They were joined by Andres Lopez, President of Corferias; Fernando Fonseca, President of the Proflora Organizing Committee; Carlos Manuel Uribe, President of the Board of Directors of Asocolflores and Augusto Solano, President of Asocolflores.
During the opening ceremony, Colombia presented its new Magical Realism ad campaign currently running on CNN and various other international channels, as well as a video chronicling 40 years of Asocolflores association history and featuring three of the flower industry’s pioneers: Charles Weston, John Vaughan and Francisco Bazzani.
Colombia’s national anthem and the ceremony’s closing ‘cumbia’ song “Colombia, My Beloved Land” were played by the award-winning Youth Orchestra from Sopo, one of Colombia’s largest flower-growing townships.
The President of Colombia, Mr Juan Manuel Santos Calderón and the President of Asocolflores, Mr Augusto Solano both underlined the importance of the flower industry for Colombia. President Santos congratulated Asocolflores on their 40th anniversary. He went on to say that, following the financial problems of the country’s coffee exporters, caused by the sharp decrease of the world coffee market prices and the strong Colombian peso against a weak dollar, the government works on extra measures to support the export of agricultural products in general and especially cut flowers. Due to the currency revaluation Colombia’s export position came under further pressure.
Mr Solano stressed that the industry takes its social responsibility very seriously. Not only does it provide work to 120,000 people, but the work contracts are fair and the social security coverage is 100%. Up to 60% of the employees are women.
Some special initiatives of Asocolflores deserve particular attention. Over 50,000 workers and their family members have benefitted from the project “Cultivating Peace in the Family” to solve problems within families in a peaceful way.
Asocolflores also runs another programme: Flowers-are Home. This initiative aims to give employees good housing. It includes the building of new houses, improvement of existing houses or the access to materials and facilities to construct you own house. In this way, nearly 30,000 families have already been helped. During a farm tour Proflora attendees could see the fantastic, big project with hundreds of modern new houses for workers with their own eyes.
Asocolflores is committed to educational and socio environmental programmess: ‘Flowers Sustainably Competitive and Responsible” to improve the environment and increase the skills, quality of life and welfare of the workers in the workplace.
Who does not remember the spot-flanked Gallinule (Gallinula melanops) project of Florverde to save this endangered bird of the Bogotá a savannah plateau.
THE meeting place for flower professionals
Proflora is THE occasion to meet all professionals of the Colombian flower industry. This year, the three-day event hosted 200 exhibitors. It is the place where Colombia and 13 other countries display their latest breeding breakthroughs, their hottest new horticultural supplies and top quality young plants. Over 7,000 trade visitors from all important producing and consuming countries visited the exhibition and participated in the organised excursions to growers on the savannah.
Proflora 2015 to be held in Medellín
Medellin, Antioquia is riding high, having recently been named the ‘Most Innovative City in the World’ by The Wall Street Journal and Citibank. This distinction comes on the heels of a push by flower growers in Antioquia to hold the next Proflora show there – Colombia’s second largest flower-growing region.
In response to these events, executives at Proflora have designated the Antioquian capital city as the official setting for Proflora 2015 from September 30th to October 2nd.