The flower industry struggling with the coronavirus
This is not the first blow to the American flower industry. The Andean Trade Preferences Law – enacted in 1991 to curtail the cultivation of medicinal plants in countries like Colombia and Ecuador – reduced tariffs on imports of thousands of products, including cut flowers. Inexpensive South American flowers have flooded the US market, and subsequent trade deals mean that today 80% of flowers sold in the United States are imported.
FJ Trzuskowski, vice president of sales at Continental Floral Greens, a US grower with operations in three states, doesn’t blame South American farmers for their success in the US market. He said cut flowers are a staple of the Ecuadorian and Colombian economies, and growers in those countries bring the same passion to the industry as he does. But he wants the federal government to consider local farmers and businesses as well.
“When you help other countries, which I find great, how does that affect the guys back home? ” he said. “If you’re going to do it for them, do something for us. … I just want to get a good shake.
The events of the past week have already devastated at least one company that works exclusively with flowers grown in the country. Eufloria Flowers in central California is a household name in the industry – Barnard said the company is well known for its uniquely beautiful roses. Eufloria announced last week on its Facebook page that it was going to close its doors. Barnard, Register, and Trzuskowski had all heard the news.
“Here’s this little guy, Eufloria, hanging on and growing roses, and they were just beautiful,” Trzuskowski said. He said their quality is worth paying double or even triple the price of a Colombian rose.