Americans Urged To Buy Flowers
According to the chairman of the Colombian Flower Exporters Association, U.S. consumers buy approximately 60 percent of the flowers grown in Columbia. Speaking as part of Texas A&M University’s International Floriculture Distinguished Lecture series, Ernest Velez said the floral production/consumption relationship between the United States and Columbia is not just about revenue, but it is also about security and fighting the war on drugs.
“The American consumer is enjoying Colombian flowers that for many years were very costly to produce in some areas of the United States or were not available all year round,” Velez said.
He said he would like to see Americans buy more Colombian-grown flowers not only to help increase sales but also to protect against and combat the spread of drugs. “The contribution of flowers is indirect in terms of having people busy growing flowers instead of other things,” Velez stated.
He said Colombian producers have diversified into a healthy floriculture industry despite the country’s perception stemming from the drug trade. “The flower industry provides many jobs. These are people who, if they did not have these jobs would end up with the guerrillas or the drug trade,” remarked Velez. “So in terms of security, its impact is very important. We are both countries trying to diminish the drug trade.”