Colombia’s aging floral workforce threatens Valentine’s potential By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: An employee cuts flowers inside a greenhouse, ahead of Valentine’s Day, at the Eclipse Flowers farm, in Tocancipa, Colombia January 30, 2023. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

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By Javier Andres Rojas

TOCANCIPA, Colombia (Reuters) – Colombia’s flower industry is struggling to contend with an aging workforce as youth shun the industry in favor of jobs elsewhere, stifling productivity, industry sources said.

Flower producers need an extra 20,000 workers at busy times of the year, such as St. Valentine’s Day, Augusto Solano, president of the flower producers association, told Reuters.

Attracting young workers to the industry is a challenge, bosses and workers told Reuters.

In some cases, retired flower pickers – such as grandmother Blanca Isabel Gutierrez – are rehired as seasonal workers amid staffing shortages.

“The youth don’t want to work in flower (production),” she told Reuters.

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