Discipline leads to success in a plantation of exportation-type of flowers
Exporting flowers – and in the particular case of Florentina Export, hydrangeas – is not an easy thing, and not due to complications in legal procedures or to difficulties in shipping and handling, but because international markets set very high quality standards for floral products, so one can state without a doubt that their production process is as important as their commercialization to foreign countries, and in each of these two phases, monitoring is the tool that enables the continuous presence of these Colombian products in countries belonging to Africa, Europe and North America, mainly, and also to continue placing Colombia as the second world producer of flowers.
Flower consumption raises year by year the world over, and Colombia has known how to preserve its privileged position, only being surpassed by Holland and Colombia, in 2018, has surpassed the amount of two hundred thousand tons of flowers brought to foreign countries. This economic phenomenon is due to diverse and favorable conditions, being the most important the fact that producers are disciplined, recursive, resilient and they comply with the high demands that each client has regarding quality, and that is precisely the important role of a commercializing business: to demand quality in the product, because on it depends the Good name of a whole country and of a whole union with decades of experience trying to achieve the standards that have made possible the incoming of Colombian floral products to the most strict markets at a global level.
To speak of quality, then, is not only to evince in the harvested flower excellent characteristics. The concept goes further, because each step given in the exacting system of flower production must be coated in quality, each step needs the best effort, love and commitment. Plague and sickness control in a harvest of hydrangeas, for example, is one of the most important elements in production, therefore very demanding monitoring control systems have to be designed and applied so that control methods can be used, not only of a chemical nature, but also of a physical, manual and mechanical nature, bearing in mind that the most efficient of all is the committed work of the flower growers, because human talent will always thrive over any other control system.
Nonetheless, the key issue cannot be overlooked, and it is that during the different phases of the productive process of flowers it is necessary to appropriately invigorate plants, to achieve the goal that each one of them, from the first sign of a bud to the final cutting of the plant, reaches the standards that are set beforehand, due to, for example, the fact of it being accordingly fed, and this will lead to, inevitably, the fact that it can develop important defense mechanisms, in a natural way. Good fertilization is the first ring of defense on which the harvester of flowers counts on to protect his plants and it is the element which, although many are not totally convinced of its use, helps to visibly diminish production costs because if the plant is strong it will resist and will recover faster from the attack of a plague or some sickness and the losses, although evident, will not be major ones.
Mr Henry Alejandro Patiño García, a grower of the region “El Cerro” which belongs to the municipality of El Carmen de Viboral (in the Department of Antioquia), owns in his terrain one hundred thousand hydrangea plants and for three years has been a provider for Florentina Export, due to the excellent quality of the flowers he grows. Mr Henry asserts that control over the plantation must be extremely strict, relentless and one has to bear in mind that three functions are very important to guarantee the success of the plantation: the agronomist, who visits the plantation every two weeks; the monitor who controls and keeps the phyitosanitary registers, and the owner of the plantation, who looks after it daily with extreme care, controlling the fulfillment of the different schedules that are required.
In their own words, the growers themselves could be those who put the credibility they have as Colombian cultivators in the international market at risk, when the overlook the protocols and methods to obtain quality flowers, and they see with good eyes that Florentina Export is so exacting, because that is the only way to export our products. They also recognize that the quality of the flowers in the region called “Oriente antioqueño” (Eastern Antioquia) and Colombia in general is very good, because they, the producers, are very committed. Lastly, don Henry, even though he has never let the country, is happy imagining that the flowers that he produced with his own hands can be enjoyed by people in so distant countries. “It feels nice that one here cultivates them, but that so far away they do know how to value them and enjoy them.”— says don Henry.
Colombian flowers are appreciated around the world due to their beauty, freshness, quality and diversity, and that has enabled the national flower grower sector to strengthen and acquire the necessary competitive advantages to be recognized in the world market. But Colombia is not alone, since it has strong competitors (Holland, Kenia, Ecuador, China and Israel) against whom it must compete with the quality of its flowers, and it is a responsibility of all – small, middle and big sized cultivators and commercializers of all spans – to maintain the privileged position of the country in the world scope.
Translated by Nicolás Naranjo Boza Mg. in Hispanic Studies. Boston College.