Colombian grower Laura Díaz Pérez

‘In Europe the prices are most attractive’

Could you describe Matina Flowers for us?
“We cultivate 24 rose varieties on a 24-ha farm. Our farm is situated at an altitude of more than 2,700 metres. That means we can cultivate large flowered roses. Our biggest market is the United States, followed by Russia, Japan and Europe. Our European customers are mostly based in the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain.”

How’s it going?
“Things are going very well. We benefit from the fact that our competitors in Ecuador are struggling with political problems in their country. And they also have financial problems because of Russia. We don’t have any issues. Colombia is politically stable. The Colombian currency, the peso, is competitive compared with other currencies. The value of the peso is favourable for growers; production costs decreased quite a bit thanks to the lower peso rate. In the past, the peso was very strong against the dollar. That meant that our income was lower. That’s no longer the case now.”

How important are the US and Russia for Matino?
“Rose prices are higher in Europe than in the United States. For that reason, the European market is interesting for us. Russia is a good market, but the country is lacking political stability. Making it our largest distribution market would be a big risk. So, even if we consider it a good market, we don’t want to increase our sales to Russia. We’d like to sell more to Europe, though.”

How do you see Matina Flowers’ future?
“We don’t have any plans to expand the farm. Despite the fact that we’re doing well, it can be hard sometimes to get all our produce sold. Our primary goal is to get more customers in Europe, because that’s where prices are most attractive. That’s why we exhibited at IFTF in Vijfhuizen for the third time last year. And a few months earlier, in the beginning of September, we exhibited at the Flower Expo Poland in Warsaw, too. We’ve also exhibited at trade fairs in Japan and in Miami.”

Will you be able to compete with the African countries on the European market?
“Kenyan and Ethiopian growers have the advantage of lower shipping costs, which gives them a strong position on the European market. Colombian growers have to count on paying around 1.70 dollar per kilo for air cargo. Kenya and Ethiopia pay much less per kilo. We’ll have to compete on different aspects.”

Company: Matina Flowers
Place: Bogota, Colombia
Grows: rose
Acreage: 24ha