Mar 052011

In a previous post – Mexico’s flower power – we looked at the Mexico’s floriculture sector. Mexico’s immense biodiversity, one of the greatest on the planet, and its variety of climates have encouraged the cultivation of ornamental flowers, principally for the domestic market, but also for export. In this post, we present a summary of the pros, cons and impacts of floriculture in Mexico.

Advantages that Mexico has for floriculture:

  • large internal market
  • long tradition of growing ornamental flowers
  • rich biodiversity – Mexico has more than 30,000 species of flowering plants, one of the world’s most diverse floras
  • competitive labor costs
  • variety of climates, from tropical to temperature
  • relative proximity to the USA compared to other major flower producers

Disadvantages of/for floriculture

  • the required transport by air is expensive, and companies relying on third-party carriers may lose access to their export markets if the airline changes its scheduled routes. For example, Finca Argovia, a grower of exotic flowers in Chiapas (150 species, 7 million stems a year, including orchids and anthuriums) would suffer if flights from Tapachula to Mexico City were stopped. These flights are the essential first leg of Argovia’s access to international markets.
  • demand for flowers is highly seasonal and having perfect blooms available for certain specific days (such as Valentine’s Day, 14 February) is critical to a grower’s success.
  • flowers grown in open fields (the majority of Mexico’s ornamental flowers) are more susceptible to insect pests and weather-related hazards and damage than those grown in greenhouses.
  • representatives of flower growers’ organizations claim that they have to compete with “contraband” flowers that originate in Ecuador, Colombia, Costa Rica and the Netherlands, and are brought into Mexico from the USA.

Positive impacts of floriculture in Mexico

  • employment
  • export income
  • added aesthetic attraction (hotels, churches, restaurants, markets)

Negative impacts of floriculture in Mexico

  • runoff of agricultural chemicals into groundwater and local streams
  • many essential inputs (specialist pesticides, fertilizers, seeds, etc) have to be imported

For interest
Mexico’s national flower is the dahlia. To find out more, read this MexConnect article about Mexico’s national flower.

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