We are here today with Santiago Luzuriaga. Please tell us a little bit about yourself?

Indeed, my name is Santiago Luzuriaga and I’ve been working in the floral industry since 2001. I started in this industry as a personal project to produce and sell summer flowers. Through this experience, I was able to apply this knowledge at Bellarosa when I started in 2008. Today, I’m the general manager of the farm.

Please tell us a bit more about the early beginnings of your days at the farm?

Bellarosa was created in 1996 with 5 hectares. In  2001, Bellarosa created another farm, Rose Connection, which solely focused on the Russian market. It has turned out to be a family business with partners, in that Santiago’s uncle, Gonzalo, is now the President of the company. Between both farms, we have 55 hectares in production and we sell to all the major markets around the world so we are very well diversified. Our current product is being exported as follows: Europe 35%, USA 30%, Russia 22%, China 7%, other 4%.

What do you see as some of the biggest differences in growing roses today, versus let’s say 10 years ago?

In the past, the Russian market paid high prices for flowers because of its culture. They demanded big blooms, long stems, and vibrant colors, making it easy to sell colored roses. Now, the high prices have practically disappeared. The demand for flowers from the rest of the markets such as the USA and Europe are more focused on exclusive varieties, pastel colors, and medium stem length varieties.

How do you see the future of the flower business in general, and also in Ecuador in particular?

The business has transformed from a non-traditional new industry with a small number of participants to a mature business with many growers. The focus now is on growing the highest quality product.

The country of Ecuador has a climate that allows us to have the best product, along with having very talented people with specialized skills in post-harvesting, sales, and marketing.

For example, Bellarosa is one of the few companies that is certified with OHSAS 18001 which stands for Occupational Health and Safety Assessment Series. Normally this certification is for trans-national companies in other sectors like oil and pharmaceutical. OHSAS 18001 sets out the minimum requirements for occupational health and safety management best practice, so we feel it is a great initiative and we are very proud having obtained that certification. Additionally, Bellarosa is part of the Rainforest Alliance and Flor Ecuador, which is another well-known certification program.

Inside of Ecuador, we see that the special characteristics to have the best product is there and we have great human talent with people very good specialized in the field, post-harvest, sales, and marketing. These professionals could work together to think about the use of technologies that help us to be more efficient and protect the environment. For instance, with an Electric Cable car that transport all the flowers from the field to the post-harvest and with that we reduce our carbon footprint.

What are some of the flowers you can get most excited about today?

Because our customers are located all over the world, they have different tastes. In order to satisfy our customers, we have a diversified product line.  The 5 lines are:

Fresh Cut Flowers, Production of Exclusive Varieties, Garden Rose Varieties, Tinted Roses, and  Preserved Roses. The main idea is to offer more added value to all of our customers.

What about DeRuiter’s new varieties, such as the X-pression series as well as the other varieties excites you so much?

From DeRuiter we produce some of the X-pression line, specifically Pink and Coral X-pression, they are very uniform to the true garden shape. The new varieties we planted are Frutteto, Lorraine, Lumia, Maggi, Marvel, Opala, Piacere, and PomaRosa. All are performing very well and the market is very favorable to the vast majority of DeRuiter’s varieties,

Thanks for your time today, Santiago!