By MADELAINE B. MIRAFLOR
A New York-based floral designer said the Philippines’s flower industry could earn billions of pesos amid increasing demand in the local and international markets.
Jerry Sibal, a Filipino events and floral designer based in New York, said the Philippine horticulture and floriculture sector has the potential to spur economic activities, support small businesses, generate more jobs and increase export revenues.
The Philippine flower industry has grown over the past three decades because of high local and foreign demand, combined with the expansion of the tourism sector.
Data show that fresh cut flower exports posted export sales of more than $370,000 annually from 1991 to 2000. Production, however, normally falls short of the rising domestic demand particularly during Valentine’s Day, Christmas, All Saint’s Day and school graduation, forcing the country to import flowers like orchids and chrysanthemums.
This is because local farmers and horticulturists need to build more greenhouses which require big investments.
Flower production also requires technologies and agricultural chemicals that are usually imported from other countries.
Sibal said that in the Netherlands, where tulips are the prime export, even small farms have their own greenhouses, which control the temperature and determine the most conducive conditions for the flowers to bloom.
Distribution networks and infrastructure are also established such that the flowers are easily transported from the farm to various hubs.
“If we want to export, we have to have international standards,” Sibal said.
He said that there a number of flower farms in the Batangas and Tagaytay that use greenhouses while farms in Benguet province usually attract tourists.
Some farms in Bukidnon in Mindanao export flowers to Japan.
Sibal, who recently visited Manila to officially launch the first Philippine International Flower Show (PIFS), said that he wants to awareness on the local flower industry.
PIFS, which will be held on October 15 to 18, 2020 at the Philippine International Convention Center, will bring together representatives from various groups and stakeholders — from farmers, agriculturists and florists to end-users like hotels and corporates, government representatives, private investors and technology providers.
“If we can bring the right technology here, we can definitely help flower farmers learn more and grow more,” Sibal said.
Sibal said the first step to jump-starting the industry is to create awareness among the people that it could, in fact, be done.
“The flower show is an instrument to educate farmers and end-users to go into this kind of business,” Sibal said.