This year, Medellín’s annual “Feria de las Flores” Flower festival was not held due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The event is always a public draw, but many don’t realize how much actual business is conducted around the exposition. Roses may get most of the attention, but Colombia is an important global exporter of other flower species such as the immensely versatile chrysanthemum, which with over 2200 acres planted and 12,500 employees, chrysanthemum cultivation makes up 12 percent of Colombia’s exports.
Around the same time as the Feria de las Flores, Colombia usually hosts the Chrysanthemum Week industry event towards the end of August, where breeders and buyers are invited to visit from around the world to network, learn, and stay up to date on the latest varieties, trends, and offerings. The two events take place roughly around the same time but are not formally linked.
Major Chrysanthemum breeders take part in the event and play host to international visitors under normal circumstances. Typically, representative from major grocery store chains, importers, buyers, and other floral supply chain members converge on the Rionegro area outside of Medellín; the heart of Colombia’s floriculture region. Participating breeders include Selecta One, Royal Van Zanten, Progeny, Icon Selections, Floritec, Dummen Orange, Dekker, Danziger and Dutch multinational Deliflor.
Deliflor held its open house, called Delishow 2020 in conjunction with this year’s Crysanthemum week, and invited Finance Colombia to participate. The multinational with headquarters in Holland, is active in 40 countries, as diverse as Uganda, Ethiopia, Japan, China and of course, Colombia, and offers over 400 varieties of Chrysanthemum. The company, with its Latin American headquarters in Rionegro, Colombia designed a virtual platform and tour for its open house, which under normal circumstances would be a VIP festival hosting international visitors at its state of the art greenhouses and packing facilities, but this year, Colombian airspace remained closed until the last week of September, after the open house activities had closed.
The company uses scientific breeding techniques to naturally create new flower varieties. With those it chooses to commercialize, it puts them through a rigorous export-oriented quality-control procedure to ensure that the flowers can endure air and ocean transport, arriving at their final destinations, with ample shelf-life for both the florist or retailer, and the end consumer.
Deliflor itself is not a flower exporter from Colombia, it sells cuttings to local growers and exporters, and charges an intellectual property license fee on its varieties grown and sold by local greenhouses.