FACATATIVA, COLOMBIA (REUTERS) – As lovers get ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day this February 14, flower producers in Colombia, the world’s second biggest flower exporter, were hard at work ahead of the industry’s busiest day of the year.
Employees at this flower plantation in Facatativa, some 31 km (18 miles) northwest of Bogota, picked and packaged roses, a long-time symbol of love and the most popular flower to woo sweethearts with on Valentine’s Day.
Employee Maria Lopez described the importance of her job.
“I’m happy with my job, with all the time I’ve been here (15 years) and happy that people abroad receive the flowers one sends with love and that they make other people happy. That is satisfying to me as an employee in the flower industry,” Lopez said.
Alvaro Camacho, manager at Elite Flowers, said that the majority of the year’s profit comes from Cupid’s big day.
“Fifty percent of annual profit is generated on St. Valentine’s Day. With a good exchange rate (dollars), we are hoping to have a very good year. The negative aspect is that St. Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, which traditionally is not the best day for sales, because people don’t buy as many flowers on a Sunday, instead, they’ll decide to exchange that for lunch, for a trip to go out and eat a meal,” said Camacho.
Once the flowers have been picked, employees sort and pack them into boxes for shipment. Usually 300 roses or 600 carnations go into each box.
Once ready to be shipped, the flowers go through scanners to ensure that other products are not also making their way north.