Mar 022011

Given its diversity of climates and immensely varied natural flora (see Mexico’s mega-biodiversity, Mexico is ideally suited for commercial floriculture (flower growing).

Helped by government support, floriculture expanded rapidly in the 1980s and 1990s. About 14,000 hectares of agricultural land are devoted to ornamental flowers, with 10,000 growers concentrating on 50 different varieties, the most important of which are gladioli, roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, birds-of-paradise and the nard. Mexico’s flower growers produce 83,000 tons/yr of flowers, 80% of them destined for the domestic market. Most flower farms are smallholdings of 1-3 hectares in size, though there are also about 150 high-tech, greenhouse-based operations for the export market.

In addition to the area dedicated to ornamental flowers, a further 9,000 hectares are devoted to plants and flowers used in the cosmetics and food flavoring industries.

The state of Mexico has the largest area devoted to floriculture in the country, centered on Villa Guerrero. Other states important for ornamental flowers are Baja California, Coahuila, Colima, Chiapas, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Querétaro, Tabasco, Veracruz, and, in the last five years, Yucatán.

The internal market for ornamentals is severely constricted by a lack of space in Mexico City’s wholesale market; the resulting congestion results in about 20% of all the fresh flowers arriving daily at the market having to be destroyed.

Mexico’s nationwide production of flowers is worth about 1 billion dollars a year. Only a small percentage of production is exported, mainly to the USA, with smaller amounts to Canada and Europe. While Mexican flower exports are currently worth some 50 million dollars, exports from Columbia are worth 550 million dollars and those from Ecuador and Costa Rica about 150 million.

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