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Proflora 2017 proves to be an important show for the global floral industry

Proflora 2017 was held Oct. 4-6 in Bogotá, Colombia, once again proving to be one of the more important shows for the global floral industry. A total of 1,041 international flower buyers attended the show and were greeted by an exhibition area that had grown significantly since the 2015 edition.

Front and center in most conversations was the difficult logistics situation that the industry is facing. Since before Hurricane Irma, there has been a deficit of air cargo capacity from Colombia and Ecuador to the United States, Asia and Europe. The lack of southbound cargo to South America has caused airlines to allocate aircraft to other countries in search of freight that pays higher rates, such as asparagus from Peru and fruits and berries from Chile. The conclusions drawn from many of these conversations are to plan ahead and allow for extra days in the distribution chain, as well as to look at alternative means of transportation such as maritime refrigerated shipping containers.

PROFLORAA stunning floral heart made of Scarlatta, a red rose by Dutch flower breeder Schreurs, greeted visitors at Proflora 2017 in Bogotá, Colombia.As always, flowers were showcased, with growers and breeders displaying the latest varieties to come to market. Dutch flower breeder Schreurs had a beautiful display of its red rose “Scarlatta,” which greeted everyone as they came in the door and German flower breeder Rosen Tantau unveiled its new red rose “Game Over” to much fanfare.

New chrysanthemum varieties by Deliflor and Royal Van Zanten showed the continued evolution of this traditional flower into something much more than a cushion or daisy. For those that wanted to see what is coming to the market in the coming months and years, this was the place to be.

Proflora is one of the best opportunities for participants in the floral industry to get together to eat, drink, and be merry — or, as they say in business school, network. Wholesalers, retailers, growers, brokers, importers, breeders, logistics specialists and anyone else involved in the industry get together in Bogotá every other year to work toward a stronger floral industry.

One important meeting that took place at this year’s edition was between Augusto Solano, president at Asocolflores in Bogotá, Colombia, Michael LoBue, chief executive officer at CalFlowers in Capitola, CA, and some members of their respective boards of directors. In a spirit of cooperation to work together to promote floral consumption in the North American market, the two organizations have agreed to increase their efforts to work together to “move the needle” in per capita floral consumption. CalFlowers and Asocolflores hope to put in motion a working relationship that would include all floral organizations to promote the idea of “more Americans enjoying more flowers, more often.” Past efforts of cooperation on such projects as promoting Women’s Day and Memorial Day Flowers have proven successful and Solano and LoBue hope to expand on these efforts.

Events like Proflora are important for the floral industry because they provide a venue for problem solving, idea sharing and relationship building. It’s easy to say that you are too busy to travel for these shows, but for those that make the effort, it is always worthwhile.

Frank Biddle is president at FBI Flowers in Vista, CA. He can be contacted at frank@fbiflowers.com.