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CANADA

A DIFFERENT VIEW OF ST VALENTINES DAY

On a sunny plateau near the Colombian capital of Bogotá, millions and millions of roses grow. By Valentine’s Day, they will have been harvested, rolled into bundles, boxed, X-rayed for hidden drug shipments and loaded onto cargo planes destined for Miami. From there, they’re packed into refrigerated trucks and shipped to wholesalers and distributors all over North America, eventually arriving at the florists, grocery chains and corner delis of Canada. In 2010, this country imported $23.5 million worth of roses from Colombia. In fact, almost a third of all cut flowers sold in Canada are imported from Colombia—our number one supplier—including $14.1 million worth of carnations and $9.6 million worth of chrysanthemums. Those numbers will likely grow. Last August, the Canada-Colombia Free Trade Agreement went into effect, securing a market for Canadian wheat, pulses and newsprint while eliminating the tariffs on Colombian flowers: It was previously 10.5% on roses. The numbers have yet to be crunched, but by October, 2011—just two months after the agreement came into force—chrysanthemum and carnation imports had already surpassed 2010 levels. For local growers—who cultivate $1.4 billion worth of flowers annually, a large portion in Ontario’s Niagara region—the bloom fell off roses long ago. Colombia’s equatorial climate, with warm days and cool nights, allows roses to grow year-round. Moreover, labour costs in the country are so low and roses so durable (they can be shipped without water or soil and last for a week or more after harvesting) that a 4,000-kilometre journey isn’t a problem. Still, local producers worry that the agreement may threaten stronger Canadian categories: tulips, orchids and daisies, among others. For the time being, at least, they’d love husbands to consider the romantic potential of a gerbera daisy.

Details of all our roses are available on our web site. Over 1000 varieties to choose from.

www.countrygardenroses.co.uk


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