Proflora XIII opened this past Wednesday, October 28th at Corferias Convention Center in Bogota and ran until Friday, October 30th. This year’s event brought together over 7,000 international attendees from 60 countries. The opening ceremony keynote speaker was the Vice President of Colombia, Germán Vargas Lleras.
The nation’s vice president opened his address with a rundown of upcoming national infrastructure projects aimed at boosting Colombia’s international competitiveness. He said, “flowers are our nation’s best ambassadors, so this is an industry it would behoove us to nurture and stimulate”, and went on to describe the Colombian floriculture industry as a prevailing example of what legitimate employment should be. He also touched on the passing of a decade of revaluation and the much needed respite the current exchange rate will give the nation’s flower farmers after their long challenging stint of shifting rates. The Vice President brought his address to a close with a vision of better times poised on the nation’s flower-industry horizon, of promising prospects for a more robust production able to trigger new jobs across the Colombian countryside.
Augusto Solano, President of Asocolflores, opened his address by marking the 50th anniversary of Colombian flower exports to the United States this past October 18th - the day when industry pioneer, Edgar Wells sent the very first shipment of flowers valued at just USD $20,000. He went on to highlight the socio-economic strides the Colombian flower industry has made and to praise Lucie de Velez’s decades of social action contributions to the Colombian flower industry.
During the ceremony, John Vaughan received a Lifetime Achievement Award, and the brand new video Colombia, Land of Flowers was rolled out for the nearly 1.000 attendees.