Third largest flower exporter in the world Ecuador is looking forward to a normal Valentine’s Day period after last October’s unrest. That doesn’t mean the sector isn’t facing any further challenges, though. Will the political situation remain stable? Are the problems around phytosanitary inspections solved? Are the American tariffs going to be reduced? We spoke about it with Alejandro Martinez, President of Expoflores.
It’s a hectic time for trade organisation Expoflores in Ecuador. The ‘paro’ (strike) in response to higher fuel prices has left its mark. The blockades and protesters’ ‘visits’ to nurseries had a big impact on the exports, many companies were forced to close temporarily. And not long after the protests, Australia threatened to stop all imports due to phytosanitary requirements.
Expoflores President Martinez says that now that 2019 is over, things have calmed down. Time to look back at a hectic year and talk about the next.
To start with, the strikes. Apparently, the damage suffered by the all-important floriculture sector of the Andean country amounted to 40 million dollars. Isn’t that a little exaggerated?
“No, not if you add it all up. It’s not just the losses due to flowers not reaching the airport and salaries paid to employees who couldn’t work, but a lot more than that. Think of the physical damage to flowers that couldn’t be looked after properly during those days. Both the fact that they couldn’t be watered and the fact that they couldn’t be harvested, played an important role. And you’ve got to count the damage to computers and other objects as well. The direct impact on the cash flow was 20 million dollars, but that amount should be doubled.”
Click here to read the full interview with Alejandro Martinez in Floribusiness digital magazine