In 2018 Colombia was the second largest flower exporter in the world. The export value of Colombian flowers was $1,500 million. In 2017, Colombia was good for a 16% share of the world’s total export value. The Colombian export value in 2017 was $1,400 million, or close to 250,000 tons of flowers. Compared to the year 2000, this value has more than doubled.
By Paul Smits
The vast majority of exports are shipped to the USA: 78%. The main export products (in value) are: rose (23.1%), followed by carnation (16.1%), chrysanthemum (13.3%) and alstroemeria (6.3%). The acreage needed for rose is bigger (a third) than the export value (a good fifth) might suggest. The production acreage amounts to 7,665 hectares, mostly around Bogotá (2/3) and Medellín (1/3).
Statistics show that the flower sector is a labour-intensive branch that provides a large number of jobs. The sector employs around 14 people per hectare, which is a lot more than other sectors, such as agriculture, fruit or tobacco farming (less than four). In total, the flower sector creates 140,000 jobs.
Out of the total airfreight space used for exports, the largest amount by far is used for flowers (the percentage for January – June 2018 was 79.3%). Expressed in dollars, the first half of 2018 had 973 million of airfreight and 34 million of sea cargo. Translated into tons, these figures were 155,422 and 8,437 respectively.
When it comes to sustainability, the flower sector has shown improvements. According to Asocolflores, energy usage has gone down by 61% during the past five years, 44% of all irrigation water consists of rain water, and the use of pesticides was almost halved during the past twenty years.