Of the 700 million roses that Colombia sends each year to florists around the world for Valentine’s Daynew varieties have been born from mixtures that result in purple, pink or orange colors, all of them special and unique in the world.
The varieties of Colombian roses that are exported to be given as gifts in the United States, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom or Spain, among other countries, have intellectual property rights in the name of the original creators of the varieties, whom the industry calls ‘ breeders’.
It is precisely this unique and exclusive character that is the reason why Colombian flower growers must pay royalties for each stem planted, regardless of whether it is successful or not.
This is what the executive vice president of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores), Andrés Vernaza Guzmán, explains to EFE, who, surrounded by crops of white roses, explains with one of the flower growers the process prior to planting the flowers.
“For each seed, the people who plant have to pay royalties to the breeders, so what is expensive on a flower farm is not the land but rather they have to pay for each flower grown, which ranges from one to five. Dollars”says Guzmán.
A variety can be the result of millions of attempted crosses in which quality, colors, durability and resistance are tested, factors that become especially relevant when it is taken into account that the bouquets have to reach all continents perfectly, since Colombia is It remains the second largest exporter in the world, only surpassed by the Netherlands.
Protected against El Niño
The flower growers who are in charge of the plantations at Hacienda Mongibello, one of the most important in Colombia, located in the municipality of Chía, 10 kilometers north of Bogotá, celebrate having been prepared for the adverse climates caused mainly by the phenomenon of El Niño does not affect crops at this time.
“Fortunately on this farm we have had no problems.“, explains one of the flower growers, who also adds that the prevention they do “consists of maintaining relatively high humidity so that frost does not damage crops”.
In the greenhouses that store the flowers, they carry out the complete process of growing roses, from planting to shipping by air or by sea so that the stems reach their final destinations in large cold chambers.
“The ideal temperature for the flowers to arrive fresh is between one and three degrees.“, describes the person in charge of the chamber, Lisandro Martínez, and at that same temperature they keep the cold room in which they store them before sending them outside.
Thus, a hundred boxes keep the flowers hydrated at all times so that lovers in other countries can give them as gifts for Valentine’s Day. The company’s objective is that “When the rose arrives at home, it lasts up to 20 days, perfect.”.
Flowers to fulfill dreams
The cultivation of flowers in Colombia is a profession with which entire families have been able to “get ahead”says post-harvest classifier Loreney Serrato Rojas, while she selects roses, cleans the outer petals and puts them together creating the bouquet.
“My dream is to get my house, that’s what I want most“, she says hopefully while remembering her children, the three children she has been able to raise thanks to the eight years she has spent among flowers.
She is one of the women who work in the company, who represent 60% of the entire workforce, which totals more than 200 employees.
Like her, the women take the number of roses that the client requests, tie them and leave them on a conveyor belt so that the manager receives them and leaves them in water so that they are hydrated at all times.
It is a workforce made up mostly of women that during Valentine’s Day alone generates 27,000 temporary jobs that allow women heads of families, like Loreney, to provide for their loved ones, and to give lovers around the world an arrangement out of the Colombian fields.
Ricardo is a renowned author and journalist, known for his exceptional writing on top-news stories. He currently works as a writer at the 247 News Agency, where he is known for his ability to deliver breaking news and insightful analysis on the most pressing issues of the day.