The selected commodity is flowers. At the moment, the production and export of this product are considered a beneficial business as it guarantees a stable level of income and attracts clients from different countries. Additionally, flowers have always been considered an item that can be used as a gift to demonstrate appreciation, some feelings, or decorate areas preparing them for different events or holidays.
That is why there are multiple producers of flowers across the world and in Ecuador. Another important reason for the selection of this very item is its critical importance for the economy of the state and its reputation across the world. Ecuador roses are considered one of the best sorts of these flowers and are appreciated by clients from different countries. In 2015, Ecuador became the world’s third-largest exporter of cut flowers, which are delivered to different areas (“Why Roses from Ecuador are the Best in the World”). In such a way, the importance of this commodity for the nation justifies the choice of flowers as the object for investigation.
Although Ecuador takes about 1% of the Earth’s surface, it remains one of the most significant producers of cut flowers in the world. It can be explained by the positive climate and beneficial geographical location that helps to cultivate different kinds and guarantee their high quality.
The selected commodity demands a combination of warmth, moisture, and specific soil composition to grow and acquire features appreciated by clients. In other areas they can be grown in greenhouses or some areas with the demanded climate conditions; however, in Ecuador, its location on the equator with the optimum sunlight, a steady stream of rays, and rains guarantee that roses and other flowers can be grown year-round, which is vital for export (Conefrey).
Most of the plantations are located in the province of Pichincha in the Andes (Conefrey). The geographical location of the country is also important for the development of international trade as products can be delivered to different places in short terms, which guarantees the preservation of the appropriate state of the good and clients’ satisfaction.
Historically, flowers have always been known as an essential commodity that can be used for different purposes. The beauty of these plants, the smell, and bright colors attracted people and preconditioned the use of flowers as a good gift. Moreover, they have always been used for different rituals and religious matters, which increased the popularity of the product and demand for it. Today flowers preserve their cultural importance and are viewed as perfect gifts in different situations (Doug).
Under these conditions, the production of the commodity has started at the first stages of human society’s rise. Speaking about Ecuador, the cut flower industry, and the mass growth of roses were introduced in 1983 (Doug). The perfect climate and beneficial geographical location preconditioned the fast rise of the sector, and by the end of the 20th century, flowers became the most profitable exports for the country.
As it has already been stated, cultural characteristics of the selected commodity play a critical role in the preservation of the high levels of clients’ attention and its importance in modern society. Historically, they were viewed as the way to demonstrate different feelings or specific attitude to a person. They were given to women as a symbol of love or passion, presented to men as the acceptance of their successes, or uses as decorative elements for various holidays (“Ecuador Flower Exporters”).
Moreover, some flowers acquired importance for religious issues and were used in different rituals. Today, the importance of the selected commodity remains high. Flowers are used for various purposes and are still viewed as a good gift. The increased attention to the product preconditioned the emergence and evolution of floristics, a kind of art focused on creating unique bouquets that have symbolic meaning or artistic value. For this reason, it is possible to conclude that flowers will remain topical in the future and guarantee a stable income for exporters.
The evolution of the cut flower industry in Ecuador significantly affected the society of the country. First of all, it revitalized the economy of the state and became one of the important sources of income. For this reason, its citizens benefit from the stable and high revenue generated by high sales. Additionally, the fast evolution of the given sector preconditioned the emergence of multiple working places, which was beneficial for the local population and helped to improve the quality of their lives. Along with the given growth, the problem of working conditions also became topical. For this reason, today, farms in the state function regarding the International Code of Conduct for producers of cut flowers and the Flower Label Program (Doug).
They prohibit the employment of workers under 15 or labor under dangerous conditions, which means the gradual improvement of the situation in the sector. Today, about 10% of all industry is certified by the FLP and moves forward toward the achievement of new standards (“Rose Exports and Farms in Ecuador”). However, there are still problems as the use of chemicals and water shortages might precondition the development of complications and health problems in workers. The salaries are about $140 per month, which is higher than in other industries, which makes it attractive to people.
There is also a significant gender disproportion in workers. Statistics state that around 70% of all employees in the flower industry are women, which might indicate the existence of certain gender inequality (Thompson). Moreover, because of the use of pesticides, they report significantly elevated rates of miscarriages, which shows the presence of specific problems in the sector (Wehner). Children under 18, who constitute about the fifth part of all workforce, might also have neurological damage (the risks are %22 higher than in other spheres) (Wehner). For this reason, there are still some social concerns that should be considered when speaking about the flower industry in Ecuador.
The economic importance of the commodity for Ecuador cannot be overestimated. The industry provides working places for about 103,000 people, and it continues to evolve (Gaille). In 2013, the cut flower industry managed to generate about $837 million, which evidences its critical importance for the state and the need for the further development of the sector (Market Insider). Moreover, the stable demand for flowers and their traditional cultural importance means that the industry has multiple opportunities for further rise.
The production of the given topic is not associated with some economic inequalities or some critical global issues. As against some other strategically important commodities that might contribute to radical changes in the global discourse, the cut flower industry is viewed as a less significant one, which means that it cannot precondition the emergence of critical social shifts (Silva). For Ecuador, work in the given sector gives a stable and comparatively high income; however, there are also some risks associated with the use of
Farming is traditionally viewed as one of the environmentally friendly industries that do no cause substantial harm to the environment. For Ecuador, the development of the cut flower industry was mainly associated with the need to consider the existing biodiversity and preserve the composition and quality of soils. The massive use of chemicals can also be considered one of the factors that might impact the local environment; however, the introduction of specific standards is expected to minimize the negative impact of this factor (Silva). In such a way, flowers can be viewed as a green commodity, but its delivery and creation of bouquets might demand specific packages and decorative elements, which might increase the amount of waste that should be recycled.
In such a way, it is possible to conclude that for Ecuador, the cut flower industry and the production of roses remain a critically important sector that helps to revitalize its economy and provide people with working places. The cultural significance of the commodity and its importance for people around the world precondition the stable demand for flowers and justify their mass production. At the moment, there are no alternatives to natural flowers because of their significance for individuals. It means that Ecuador, with its beneficial geographical location, can benefit from the growing interest to this product and develop the industry responsible for producing and exporting it to different countries.
Conefrey, Mick. “Roses with Altitude: Why Ecuador’s Flower Industry Stands Out.” Financial Times, 2015. Web.
Doug. “Ecuador’s Cut Flower History”. Flowerlink. Web.
“Ecuador Flower Exporters”. FlowerCompanies. Web.
Gaille, Brandon. “21 Ecuador Flower Industry Statistics, Trends & Analysis”. BrandonGaille, 2018. Web.
Market Insider. “Ecuador’s Flower Industry Stands Out, But Faces Challenges”. International Trade Center, 2015. Web.
“Rose Exports and Farms in Ecuador”. FlowerCompanies. Web.
Silva, Brenda. “Global Demand Blooms for Ecuador Floriculture”. Superfloral, 2019. Web.
Thompson, Ginger. “Behind Roses’ Beauty, Poor and Ill Workers”. The New York Times, 2003. Web.
Wehner, Ross. “Deflowering Ecuador”. Mother Jones. Web.
“Why Roses from Ecuador are the Best in the World.” Fmifarms, 2016. Web.