South American growers and exporters keen to do business with Dubai Flower Centre
South American flower growers and exporters are keenly eyeing the state-of-the-art facilities at the Dubai Flower Centre (DFC) for better transshipment of their perishable goods and utilize it as a gateway to enter new markets in the CIS countries, Middle East, and the rest of Asia besides other regions.
This was the impression gathered by Mr. Ian Strachan, Managing Director, and Mr. Ibrahim Ahli, Marketing Director, during their three-nation trip that took them to farms in Peru, Ecuador and Colombia. The DFC senior management team also met with key government officials and business leaders in the private sector and appraised them of the salient features of the Dubai facility.
As a one-stop shop for local and international buyers, traders and exporters, the DFC offers several benefits including a closed loop cool supply chain system that ensures the right temperature from aircraft to the climate-controlled zone, a supply chain intelligence that offers state-of-the-art computerized tracking system, and a business-friendly free-zone environment. Such features greatly enhanced the interest of the South American growers and government officials.
Mr. Ahli said “The opportunity to highlight the special features of DFC came at the Flora Exhibition in Ecuador and at a special gathering of 160 guests at Bogota, Colombia. The official export promoting bodies – Prompex of Peru, Corpei of Ecuador, and Proexport of Colombia – along with the many growers in the region seek to expand their markets to cover the GCC region and use Dubai as a redistribution centre. Moreover, the occasion also presented opportunities to explore areas for future alliances in logistics with Latin America and to create awareness for their products in the GCC region.”
The Bogota presentation was attended by officials from the government, airline sector, banks, freight forwarders, marketing agents and growers who were keen to get detailed information about DFC because of the crucial role it can play for their biggest industry – floriculture. The participants felt that Colombia can use Dubai as a centre for accessing their existing markets besides tapping the potential of Middle East as a new market.
“Dubai’s liberal free market economy, enables the DFC to provide clear-cut commercial benefits to businesses in the perishables industry. The benefits include among others: On-site logistics service providers, quality control facilities and customs inspection; Immediate connections to local markets in the GCC region; Excellent international connections via air, land and sea; and direct access to international traders and customers,” said Mr. Ahli.
The team also visited the Nevado Roses farm in Ecuador located 2.756 meters above sea level and 140 km south of Quito, the capital of Ecuador, which is known for its exceptional soil due to high mineral content. This has given roses from the region a reputation for long sturdy stems and huge flower heads that can have a shelf life of up to 15 days.
South America is an important location for production of fresh cut flowers and other perishables mainly due to the excellent climatic and soil conditions which provide an exceptional quality. For instance, Ecuador and Colombia are renowned worldwide for their excellent fresh cut roses along with field flowers, fillers and large scale fruits and vegetables. In Peru, asparagus along with other products such as black maize cob are peculiar to that country and offer an extra advantage to growers. Moreover this has made South American products gain acceptance globally.
“The thriving perishable goods industry in the region has been traditionally supplying their products to Europe and North America. However of late there has been renewed interest among the Latin American companies to expand their perishable goods market to other areas due to the demand for its quality and the specialty of the product line,” added Mr. Ahli.
“The interest of these Latin American countries to expand to their business to Middle East, the CIS countries and Asia stems from the region’s fast-expanding economies. This is especially true about Middle East and Asia where the demand from the booming hotel and hospitality industry combined with the growing purchasing power has increased the demand for the unique South American products,” remarked Mr. Ahli.
There are other reasons as well. In the case of Ecuador which is renowned for its exceptional rose quality, suppliers are eagerly looking to expand their market base due to the delay in signing the free trade agreement with the US. If the agreement is not reached by 2007, Ecuadorean products like flowers and other perishables will attract 6.5% to 7% import duty against the current zero per cent duty. This will make Ecuadorian products less competitive compared to its neighbours who have already signed the agreement.
“Such factors make the sophisticated cool chain of DFC an attractive proposition to the South American perishable industry. In general, more companies from South America will be coming to the DFC to join those who are already present from the region,” concluded Mr. Ahli.