A few weeks ago, we spent some time with Pablo Monard, from Flor Eloy. He talked about his experiences in the flower industry in Ecuador, and below is a summary of our talk with him.
Pablo Monard has been working in the flower industry in Ecuador for 35 years. Through the years he has gained diverse experience by working for as many as six different flower farms. It seems he has found his home with Flor Eloy, as he has been there for the last 15 years.
Pablo’s biggest challenge was when he arrived at Flor Eloy. The farm was struggling, and the owner had put it up for sale. He was hired to facilitate the sale. Instead, he embraced the challenge to turn the farm around with improving all aspects of production. With the successful turnaround, the farm grew from 5.5 hectares of production to 13 hectares.
We asked him about the biggest differences in growing roses today, versus 10 years ago.
The flower business evolved from a multitude of small farms haphazardly producing and selling most of their production to non-discriminating customers with a big appetite for flowers. Then the landscape changed in the nineties with the Russian crisis and the dollarization of the currency in Ecuador. The crisis had decreased the demand for flowers while the cost of production increased due to the change of currency. This forced farms to focus on producing better quality flowers and varieties in order to compete and to differentiate themselves from other farms in order to survive. In this period of transition, great strides were made in the improvement of nutrients/pesticides, packaging, and the cold chain, in order to create a better flower by increasing its shelf life.
We asked Pablo how he sees the future of the flower business in general, and also in Ecuador in particular, and this is what he answered:
Every year it becomes economically more challenging to keep costs under control while producing high-quality flowers. He believes the Roses from Ecuador are the Rolls Royce of Roses, globally speaking. He states it is imperative that Ecuador continues to sustain this quality advantage they have over the rest of the world through continuous innovations.
We discussed what are some of the flowers Pablo can get most excited about today.
Preferences for rose varieties are different among countries. Russia demands roses with big heads and long stems. The United States wants roses with specific colors and characteristics (head shapes; garden, cabbage, ruffled edges, etc.). These differences make the process of choosing what varieties to grow challenging which has created the birth of beautiful new colors and shaped roses.
We asked Pablo specifically about the X-pression series and the other varieties from DeRuiter, and this is what he had to say about that:
In general, DeRuiter varieties open nicely and are of very good quality. The X-pression series produce vibrant colored roses such as Coral X-pression, and Pink X-pression. Additionally, varieties such as Cupido, Frutteto, Orange Crush, Snow Bliss, and Super Sun also have a proven track record and the market is increasingly demanding these varieties. The breeder is focused on bringing trendsetting colored roses with unique opening characteristics to the market for many years, so we are very happy with that breeder!
Thank you Pablo, for your time spent with us!