Surrounded by rose nurseries in flower country Ecuador, Betel Flowers tries to differentiate with exotic specimens. Protea (sugarbush) isn’t a common sight in this equatorial country, but Santiago Teran grows them with great passion.
Teran’s 12-ha nursery is situated on the Andean Plateau in Tabacundo, northeast of Quito. The region is dominated by the imposing Cayambe volcano (5,790m). At the most recent trade fair in Ecuador’s capital city in 2019, Teran was talking enthusiastically to visitors about Betel Flowers.
Despite a dramatic year for Ecuador (political unrest in the autumn of 2019, followed by Covid-19), Teran hasn’t lost his faith in the flower sector. “At the time of the unrest, the main problem was getting the flowers transported due to the blockades. Luckily, we could all still get to the nursery somehow, albeit with difficulty.” With the latter, Teran refers to, among other things, the recruitment of farm workers for the demonstrations in Quito, which was done in an intimidating way.
Collectiveness and commitment
Betel survived the unrest and so far, it’s surviving Covid-19 as well. “March was a disaster, but we’re back to 80 percent of our normal turnover by now. We haven’t fired anyone; all our 40 employees are still with us. We did have to reduce their wages though, as they’re working fewer hours.” (..)
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