Global Leaders In Cut Flower Exports

Dutch greenhouse filled with beautiful multi-color chrysanthemums.
Dutch greenhouse filled with beautiful multi-color chrysanthemums.

According to Rabobank International, cut flowers are some of the most important floricultural products sold globally, along with flower bulbs, cut foliage, and live whole flower plants. Cut flowers are those that have been picked or cut and thus dismembered from their stems. The Dutch have especially long been known for their cut flower exports, though other countries are increasingly taking up more of the global market share of the sector, especially in Africa and South America.

10. Israel (1% of global market share)

Israel has a highly suitable climate, with around 300 sunny days a year and relatively warm winters, in the Negev Desert region. These conditions are encouraging the growth of high quality summer plants throughout the year. This has led to a booming horticulture industry in the country, and Israel's becoming one of the largest exporters of cut flowers to the European Union. 90% of the peonies, anemones, and other species of flowers grown by these Israeli flower farmers are exported into the global marketplace. The flower, plant, and plant propagation material exports of Israel earn the country a staggering sum of $200 million annually, with the nation holding a 1% share of the global market in terms of cut flower exports.

9. Germany (1% of global market share)

The German horticulture industry is continuously growing, with the country’s cut flower exports currently occupying 1% of the global market share. In 2014, Germany was one of the leading countries in exporting the highest dollar values worth of flower bouquets, standing at $91.5 million (0.94% of the total global market share). This rendered Germany the third fastest-growing flower bouquet exporters in the world since 2010, with a 120.7% gain in value since 2010. Besides exporting flowers, Germany has also become more self sufficient over the years in terms of cut flower production and supply within the country domestically, becoming less reliant on cut flower imports from other countries, especially the Netherlands, to meet the needs of its own population.

8. Italy (1% of global market share)

1% of the global market share of cut flowers today is held by Italy. The country is a flower-growing powerhouse, and is one of the largest exporters, and consumers, of cut flowers in the European Union. Italy’s flower exports primarily comprise of roses and carnations, and it sells the majority of its exported quality cut flowers to other markets in the European Union, especially including the markets for such in Austria, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland.

7. Malaysia (1% of global market share)

The Malaysian cut flower industry appears to have bright prospects due to the constant growth in the domestic and export markets for cut flowers grown in the country. Three primary types of cut flowers are exported from Malaysia. Namely, these are temperate flowers, orchids, and other lowland flowers. About 1,218 hectares of land in Malaysia are dedicated to flower cultivation, with orchid cultivation occupying almost 580 hectares of land alone. The major orchid cut flower production areas in the country include Johore Bahru, Batang Padang, Kota Tinggi, and Petaling. Meanwhile, temperate cut flowers are primarily produced in the Cameron Highlands, Gua Musang, and Ranau regions. Malaysian cut flower exports account for 1% of the global market share of these products.

6. Ethiopia (2% of global market share)

Even though Ethiopia’s floral industry's place as a major economic entity is a quite recent development, emerging in the late 1990’s, the country is currently the second largest flower exporter in Africa after Kenya. The sunny tropical climate of the country, and its varying topology, allows for the cultivation of a wide variety of flower species there throughout the year. Currently, Ethiopia holds a 2% share in the global flower export market, and it is predicted that by the end of 2016 the country will be earning $550 million from annual exports of cut flowers. The hard work of the Ethiopian Horticulture Producers and Exporters Association (EHPEA) has also been instrumental in attracting the Ethiopian government’s and foreign investors’ attentions alike towards the flower industry of Ethiopia. Such developments are leading to further expansion of this industry within the country.

5. Belgium (3% of global market share)

Belgium is among the leading cut flower producers in the world, holding 3% of the total global market share for cut flower exports. Roses are the main cut flowers produced in the country, and rose cultivation occupies half of the Belgium’s area for flower production done under glass (in greenhouses, that is). Despite having such a large share in global markets, the Belgian cut flower industry is not growing at a rapid pace, primarily due to the stiff international competition offered by other countries selling their cut flower produce at significantly lower rates than Belgium. There were 127 cut flower growing companies in the country in 2007. While new companies are rarely seen opening, older ones are attempting to professional expand, and boost their production to larger scale levels.

4. Kenya (7% of global market share)

7% of the global market share of cut flowers is held by the Kenyan cut flower industry. In 2013, 125,000 tons of cut flowers, valued at $507 million USD, were exported from Kenya. 35% of all sales of cut flowers in the European Union are contributed by this African country. The long-lasting roses, summer flowers, and carnations of Kenya are also exported to the United States and Russia en masse. The sunny climate of Kenya is the prime factor allowing for high quality blossoms to be grown throughout the year there, most without the need for expensive greenhouses. The flower industry in Kenya employs 500,000 Kenyans, of which 90,000 are direct flower farm employees.

3. Ecuador (9% of global market share)

The cut flower industry in Ecuador had grown substantially over the past decade, with the country now occupying a 9% share of the global market in terms of cut flower export values. While a large number of flowers, like Gypsophila, Limonium, and Liatris are also exported, roses are by far the leader, with around 60 varieties of rose being grown in this country for export. The land area of flower cultivation in the country now occupies around 2,000 hectares of land. The Ecuadorian cut flower industry finds its primary markets in the United States, Italy, Canada, German,y and Russia. Other, smaller, though still significant, importers include France, Switzerland, Spain, and Argentina.

2. Colombia (15% of global market share)

Colombia occupies 15% of the global market share in the cut flower export sector, generating a revenue of around $1 billion dollar for the country annually. 65% of the cut flowers imported by the United States in 2013 were obtained from Colombia, which was 10% higher than the annual imports seen in the previous decade. Though the rose is the largest cut flower seller sourced from the country, exotic species of anthurium, orchids, and 'bird of paradise' flowers are themselves not far behind. Colombia’s cut flower market to the United States took a step forward in 1991, when the United States made a move to curb cocoa farming in Colombia, and instead spur job growth in the flower industry of the country by eliminating trade duties on the country’s flowers.

1. The Netherlands (52% of global market share)

The Netherlands has long been at the center of cut flower production in the European floral market. The country also hosts the largest flower market in the world, that being the auction at Aalsmeer. The cut flower industry has flourished and grown in Netherlands since the 1970’s. As early as 1995, Dutch growers produced over 8 billion blooms of flowers annually, which in turn yielded a revenue equivalent to about $3.2 billion USD. Though the Netherlands continues to be the largest exporter of cut flowers in the world market, having a 52% share of the global market for cut flowers today, the country is currently facing intense competition from other countries that are producing cut flowers more inexpensively and on a larger scale than ever before.


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