For about a week now, protests are taking place in the major cities of Colombia against a proposed tax reform. The strikes are blocking some roads resulting in some logistical challenges for the farms to get their flowers to the airport. Fortunately, the bulk of the Mother’s Day orders have already been shipped out and moreover, the demand from all over the world has been much higher than expected, explains Pablo Bazzani of Plazoleta Flowers. He grows several summer and focal flowers on around 30 ha in Bogota.
Camilo Bazzani and Pablo Bazzani at the FlowersExpo 2019 in Moscow, Russia.
Good cooperation within the chain
The strikes are mainly taking place in the Savanna of Bogota, where most of the farms are located. It is affecting the shipments, but Bazzani is very pleased that the customers, the ones at the airport and airlines are so cooperative. “In the morning we are not having any difficulties and our workers can come safely to the farm. However, the challenge may occur in the evening when our trucks go to the airport. Then, the usual traffic jam, combined with the possible blockages on the road may prevent or delay the truck from arriving at the airport. However, as the strikes move around the country, so one day, a farm in the north, for example, might have the challenge of getting their product to the farm and the other day a farm in the west. You never know. Therefore, I’m very pleased with the good understanding and support in the chain. If our flowers cannot be shipped today, they will be sent another day in most of the cases.”
Mother’s Day season not affected
Fortunately, the Mother’s Day season at most farms has not been affected much. “Before the strikes started, about 98 percent of our Mother’s Day orders were already shipped out.”
The weather, however, has been more of an issue, but only in the beginning of the season. “Due to the rainy season, the light levels in the Savanna were really low, slowing down the production cycle. However, suddenly, the sun came and the rains stopped, so in the end, the impact was very little.”
Unexpected high demand
Bazzani is very pleased with this year’s Mother’s Day season. For Valentine’s Day, their main market is the US and Canada, but for Mother’s Day, they ship to much more countries, like Japan, New Zealand, and China, and in all countries, he saw a rise in demand. “The world is taking more flowers than ever!”
Expanding production acreage
Not only for this year’s Mother’s Day the demand has been higher, but it has also been increasing steadily since October last year, Bazzani explains. Therefore, they decided to expand their alstroemeria acreage by 3 ha. “All in all, we are very pleased, not only with the increase in demand, but also with our people – fortunately, they all stayed healthy – and our production. Even in the midst of the pandemic, we decided not to cut back.”