Colombia to Export 300 Million Stems of Certified Florverde(R) Flowers This Valentine's Day Colombian Flowers are Good for the Earth, Workers and You

    BOGOTA, Colombia, Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Looking for that
 "feel-good" gift for Valentine's Day? You won't have to look very far. With
 300 million stems of certified Florverde(R) flowers headed to the United
 States from Colombia, millions of sweethearts can feel good about the
 flowers they will purchase for the holiday of love. The majority of
 Colombian flowers shipped to the U.S. are grown on Florverde(R)-certified
 farms, which are in compliance with stringent U.S social and environmental
     "Everyone can feel confident purchasing flowers this Valentine's Day
 and everyday," said Augusto Solano, President of the Colombian Association
 of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores). "Buying flowers supports an
 international industry that continues to make strides to improve social,
 environmental, labor and occupational health and safety standards."
     About Florverde(R)
     As the size and influence of the Colombian floriculture industry
 expands, it continues to enhance working standards to improve the lives of
 floral workers. Asocolflores is celebrating eleven years of the
 Florverde(R) program, the unique certification process which was created to
 improve the lives and living standards of floral farm workers and their
 families, to preserve and protect the environment for the industry's
 farmers for generations to come and to ensure high-quality, affordable
 flowers for consumers year round. Currently 171 Colombian farms, comprising
 half of the acreage devoted to growing flowers, have qualified for or are
 in the process of qualifying for Florverde(R) certification.
     Florverde(R)-certified farms use of agricultural chemicals is
 consistent with U.S. regulations. Workers are educated and trained in the
 safe use of these chemicals and provided appropriate safety equipment.
 On-site medical care, dining areas and hot meals are provided. Some farms
 go beyond specified worker requirements and offer child care, housing
 subsidies and literacy education.
     Certification is verified by an independent third party, SGS, a
 renowned international audit company headquartered in Switzerland, widely
 recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. SGS has
 worked with such companies as Avon, McDonald's, the GAP and Shopko.
     More About the Colombian Flower Industry
     -- Colombia exported more than one billion dollars worth of flowers
 world wide in 2007.
     -- Florverde(R) was initially created to enhance overall performance by
 providing a systemized approach to improve labor conditions and
 environmental practices.
     -- Initial participation in Florverde(R) is voluntary. Once certified,
 compliance is mandatory to maintain certification.
     -- Seventy-seven percent of all flowers imported into the U.S. are from
     -- In 2006, the U.S. imported 99% of its carnations and alstroemeria,
 98% of its mums and 70% of its cut roses from Colombia.
     -- Colombia is the second largest exporter of flowers in the world
 (after Holland).
     -- In 2006, U.S.-Colombian bilateral trade was an estimated $14.7
     -- Florverde(R) flowers are grown with 50 percent less pesticides as
 compared to 1998 usage.
     -- Florverde(R) is the model program for the Ecuadorian flower and
 Colombian banana industries.
     -- The Colombian flower industry encourages sustainable farming through
 the use of integrated pest management practices to reduce pesticide use,
 and encourages drip irrigation, rainwater collection systems and organic
     Established in 1973 to represent the interests of the Colombian flower
 growers in world markets, the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters
 (Asocolflores) represents more than 70 percent of total Colombian flowers

SOURCE Colombian Association of Flower Exporters

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