by Ron van der Ploeg
BOGOTA, Colombia, October 9, 2009: The 10th edition of the international Proflora flower trade show held in Bogotá, Colombia, closed its doors on Saturday October 3 and was attended by a record number of qualified buyers from more than 40 nations. In the Corferias exhibition centre the visitors saw fresh flowers and floral products from more than 400 exhibiting companies, covering 15,000 m2. Despite the economic downturn, optimism ruled and good business was done.
Mr Alvaro Uribe Vélez, President of the Republic of Colombia was invited as special guest of honour, praising the sector’s efforts in sustainable production and workers welfare. The Colombian flower industry has made a big contribution to the country’s security, helping thus to attract more foreign investments, said Uribe.
For his dedication and ongoing commitment to the Colombian flower industry Asocolflores, the Association of Colombian Flower Exporters, awarded the President with the Edgar Wells Prize. This prestigious prize was named after Edgar Wells, the first Colombian grower who started to export his flowers to the USA in 1965.
Augusto Solano Mejia, executive president of Asocolflores, drew attention to the course of action President Uribe has taken which has served to positively transform the country in the space of just a few years. “Once a stigmatized and internationally isolated country Colombia now attracts domestic and foreign investors who trust and believe in the country. Colombians have reclaimed their sense of pride and safety, feeling that once again the country belongs to us”, said Solano Mejia.
According to the Asocolflores’ president flowers are not recession proof. “The flower industry boat is sailing in rocky waters everywhere and the end of the storm is nowhere in sight. Everybody needs to pull together. Still, there is a huge market”, stressed Solano. “During a global crisis people start to save money, doing more things at home. Asocolflores is simultaneously supporting some studies at Harvard proving that flowers decrease depression, anxiety and stress and increase compassion, enthusiasm and energy.”
On the occasion of Proflora’s 10th anniversary the organizing body awarded Ernesto and Lucie Vélez a special prize of honour. An outstanding aspect in the jury’s motivation is the couple’s attitude to environmental friendly production and social responsibility. Both are called “True flower ambassadors with the Colombian flower industry tattooed on their skin”. Mr and Mrs Vélez were praised for their untiring efforts and perseverance in promoting the Colombian flower industry even in difficult times. Enjoy our broadcast from Prolfora on www.floracultureinternational > FCI Radio> every two hours the broadcast is repeated. The broadcast schedule is as follows: 10.00 am, 12:00 pm, 14;00 pm etc (Amsterdam time ).