As an ongoing effort to understand and manage the changes to our industry, we feel it is important to provide our customer’s with valuable information. This is the industry we love and have chosen as our profession. It is filled with many challenges that are all part of today’s floral industry.
Please find the time to read this document provided by the Association of Floral Importers of Florida (AFIF) regarding Colombia, South America.
AFIF MEMBER INFORMATION
The flower industry is facing a lot of challenges on a day-to-day basis that are not directly attributable to the quality and/or quantity of flowers produced. Because of this and the fact that there is a lot of speculation, mis-information and rumors floating around,
AFIF wanted to provide to you some clarification about the circumstances that currently exist. Here are a few things that you can talk to your customers about when they ask questions:
1) The weather in Colombia has been very unpredictable this year and has created challenges to some of the farms. This has led to lower productivity and delayed crops.
2) The costs of supplies, equipment, and labor in Colombia have risen this year at an even greater rate than the costs have risen for most of us in the US. Farms therefore have to make adjustments to their amount of supplies purchased/used and the size of their labor forces.
3) The decrease in consumer demand is not only in the US, but worldwide. So the farms that used to be able to shift some of their excess US production to other countries in times of decreased demand have limited options on where they can move their inventory.
4) With this decreased demand, farms are having to make hard decisions on production capacity, in many cases reducing their production capabilities of selected crops. Some farms are not able to absorb all of the additional costs and reduced cash flow due to slow demand, forcing them to close their farms.
5) The devaluation of the US dollar/appreciation of the Colombian peso is creating a challenge that is not easily solved. This financial challenge is not new to Colombia, but, combined with the above challenges, makes it harder to manage.
6) As in the US, businesses In Colombia are having a difficult time obtaining loans needed for operating capital on a daily basis, especially in the slow periods before the peak demand holiday periods.
7) The country of Colombia is receiving a lot of investments from outside their country. While this is a positive indicator of a strong economy, it has the effect of penalizing exports, especially if a sector, like flowers, cannot raise prices to offset the higher costs incurred. Colombia remains the number one and a reliable source for flowers for US consumers. While Colombian farms manage their way through the global economic conditions and these other challenges, they will continue to produce flowers that will be available for consumers throughout the US and the rest of the world.
8) AFIF members continue to source product from Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Peru, Africa, etc. to make sure that we have the flowers needed for all of our
customers. Remember that AFIF is America’s Flower Connection! If you have any questions or want more information about any of the topics above feel free to contact Christine at the Association of Floral Importers of Florida (AFIF) at Christine@afifnet.org or 305-593-2383.