Like every country Ecuador is suffering from rising costs... unlike many they are also having to deal with riots and State of Emergencies being declared in some areas as the indigenous population takes to the streets in an ongoing battle to fight rising prices.
For flower growers, particularly those in the Southern Highland region where most of the farms are situated it is causing untold havoc and at the time of going to press (27.6.22) supplies are being seriously impacted.
As of 16th June only some 50% of flowers were being shipped out and whilst many wholesalers we spoke to - including Nick Hudson of FlowerVision Bristol and Eddy Deighan of FleuraMetz - were getting supplies and feeling positive, obviously the longer the riots continue, the harder it will become.
This week is expected to be trickier as Ben Hart of GT Flowers in Leeds and their main supplier Optimus Flowers confirmed and the message from all wholesalers is do not leave ordering to the last minute and be able and willing to work with substitutions.
However, whilst it is difficult to predict what will happen, Eduardo Letort – CEO of leading Ecuadorian growers Hoja Verde and President of the Cayambe Association of Floriculture which works closely with the national flower association, Expoflores, remains confident despite the difficulties.
Speaking with Sahid Nahim on The Bloom Show, Eduardo explained that the situation in Ecuador had been ongoing since 2019 and in a 12 days period alone saw growers lose over $30 million due to unshipped flowers.
Now they are facing similar problems as protestors again take to the streets and block transport routes. However Ecuadorian growers are not giving in and in the last few days have found every way possible to get flowers from the farms to the airport in Quito and out to florists.
Which has not only included renting helicopters to airlift pallets of flowers over the protestors but for one farm their staff literally walking through a river with flower boxes on their heads to get product out.
Because as Eduardo explained “We know consumers want and need our flowers so it gives us the confidence to carry on and find a way through. Having seen how demand for Ecuadorian flowers has grown we still think we’re in the right business despite the problems.”
The only thing I would ask is for patience and understanding. It is no big deal that we have to walk through a river - fortunately it’s not the Mississippi!! – but it is adding time to our delivery journeys so there may be a bit of a delay and obviously our flowers will need extra care when they get to you as their transport time has been longer but if we can get the flowers out we will - whatever it takes and we know they will still give you a beautiful vase life.”
To watch Eduardo's interview with Sahid click here
To see more about Eduardo’s farms click here