BARRIO – The country’s fourth-largest income-generator in terms of sales, roses alone earned nearly a billion US dollars in 2021. Ecuador is the world’s third-biggest flower exporter after the Netherlands and Colombia.
But this year’s prognosis is unclear after 18 days of violent mass protests against rising fuel prices that included burning roadblocks and arson. The protests amount to losses surpassing those of the two year pandemic.
“They are BURNING our flowers,” the Expoflores association of producers and exporters exclaimed on Twitter as delivery trucks were being set on fire last month.
Expoflores said other flowers rotted as they could not be harvested and moved for export, and ended up in “the garbage.”
Industry insiders maintain that the flower business is a resilient one, with flowers never going out of fashion, whether it be for happy events or sad ones.
In 2020, Ecuador’s flower industry recorded sales of $827 million — a smaller decline than had been expected from pre-pandemic 2019 when it was $880 million. It was then seen that flowers are a product of necessity.
People wanted to have colours, scents in their homes during lockdown. There was also a sharp rise in demand for flowers for pandemic funeral wreaths.
Between January and May this year, flower exports brought in $432 million, compared to $417 million in the same period of 2021.
The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has hurt sales as Russia is Ecuador’s second-biggest country client for flowers in 2021, behind the United States. Since the start of the war, Russia’s share of the market fell from 20 percent to 10.