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Proflora attendance revised to 7,000; President Santos to speak at opening

Proflora, Colombia’s biennial flower trade show, was expected to attract nearly 7,000 visitors to Bogota, Colombia’s capital, Oct. 2-4, according to Sept. 23 revised estimates by officials at Asocolflores, the flower exporters group that sponsors the show. About 1,200 of those attending were expected to be international travelers from 45 countries.

Colombia President Juan Manuel Santos was scheduled to headline opening ceremonies Oct. 2 with a welcoming speech. For the first time, Proflora was to host an International Dutch Pavilion displaying new technologies for the floriculture industry.

Asocolflores officials revised their expected numbers for the show downward on Sept. 23, reflecting unrest dating back to Aug. 18, when Colombia`s farmers, miners, and truckers began a national strike amid government warnings of a crackdown on protesters. Attendance estimates dropped from 10,000 but still expected almost 7,000, exhibitors went from 400 to 300, and international travelers at 1,200 were down from earlier estimates of 1,500.

Each group of protesters is fighting its own battle, but all of their demands are interconnected: Farmers were protesting the free trade agreement with the United States, which allows tariff-free imports from this country into Colombia; truckers were protesting low wages and high gas prices; coffee workers were demanding relief for their bankrupt industry; and miners were fighting government interventions, the International Business Times reported Sept. 22.

An outline agreed to by both sides will give an estimated 80,000 protesters a much-needed respite from roadside demonstrations, according to announcements made by both sides, Colombia Report announced Sept. 20.

Proflora’s more than 300 exhibits were tslated o display more than 1,600 varieties of flowers by growers from Colombia and Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru and other countries.

New varieties were scheduled to be shown by breeders from a dozen countries.

Corferias, Bogotá’s International Business & Exhibition Center, was once again the setting for Proflora.

About 50,000 square feet of the show floor was to be filled with new flower varieties and displays featuring world trends in floriculture.

The 2011 Proflora show was attended by 300 exhibitors and 4,775 buyers from 47 countries.