Buy Flowers for Mom and Support Mothers in Colombia

Published In: Colombia, Features 
Monday, April 21, 2008 5:20 AM
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Colombian Women to Benefit from Purchase of Flowers this Mother's Day

BOGOTA, Colombia, April 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Millions of moms will be happy this Mother's Day upon receiving beautiful bouquets of flowers.

While the sight and thoughtfulness of flowers makes this gift special, so does knowing that the simple act of giving flowers is actually helping moms in Colombia build a better life for themselves and their families. Thanks to the Florverde(R) certification program, created by the flower growers' trade association, Asocolflores, Colombian mothers working in the booming floriculture industry and their families benefit from quality education, healthcare, childcare and housing opportunities, among other programs.

It is estimated that more than 220 million stems of certified Florverde(R) flowers will be exported from Colombia to the United States for Mother's Day. Colombia is the largest supplier of fresh-cut flowers to the US so those presenting flowers to mom for this holiday can feel confident they are also assisting the mothers in Colombia.

"Families can take comfort in knowing that as they celebrate Mother's Day, or any day, with the purchase of flowers, they are also helping to enhance the lives of thousands of Colombian women and mothers working in our country's floriculture industry," said Augusto Solano, President of the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores). "Through the growing Florverde initiative, more Colombian women and families will have the opportunity to benefit from the social, environmental, labor, and occupational health and safety standards we have established."

Florverde Programs for Mothers

While Florverde offers opportunities for both men and women, more than sixty percent of the floral farm workforce consists of female heads-of-household, who live and work in rural areas located near Bogota and Medellin. Employment and training in floriculture provides a stable lifestyle as well as the chance to improve the standard of living for Colombian mothers and their families. Many Florverde(R)-certified companies offer housing assistance, education, family counseling and childcare facilities.

"With the flower-growing industry serving as the largest female employer of Colombian rural populations - providing 25 percent of all jobs in these areas - providing opportunities for these women is so important, not only enabling them to enjoy a better life, but their children as well," said Solano.

Current programs on many Florverde(R) farms which are developed to assist Colombian mothers and their families include:

Continued Education Program - Aimed at eradicating illiteracy among flower workers.
To date an estimated 18,000 workers have participated in literacy, elementary and secondary education programs since 2004.

Flowers are Home Program - Conducted in cooperation with subsidized housing programs and public-private partners to help workers purchase homes, this program has benefited more than 6000 workers since its inception in 2002.

Childcare Program - Consisting of high-quality childcare centers on or near farms that provide daycare services for children while their parents work, an estimated 17,000 children benefited from this program that is run jointly with the Colombian Institute for Family Welfare (ICBF).

Oral Health Program - Approximately 35,000 area children between the ages of four and twelve have participated in this program and received instruction on proper dental hygiene.

School of Floriculture for Displaced and Vulnerable Colombians - Supported by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the School enables families displaced by violence in the countryside to find jobs, generate income and recover their dignity. Those who join begin as apprentices and earn a salary, while learning flower- growing skills and techniques. After one year of training, apprentices can become permanent workers. More than 1600 workers and their families have been beneficiaries of this Colombian flower-growers initiative.

Cultivating Peace in the Family - Also supported by USAID, Cultivating Peace is contributing to building peace and tackling family violence in Colombia. The program teaches workers to manage conflict in peaceful ways in the family, work and community. Since 2000, approximately 50,000 workers and their families have received training in workshops.

About Florverde

Established in 1996, labeled with Spanish name meaning "green flowers," the Florverde program has made ongoing advancements to improve Colombian workers' quality of life and to ensure Colombian-grown flowers meet specific environmental and sustainability standards. The Florverde certification program was created by Asocolflores with a vision to lead the flower industry and improve practices by establishing and regulating a set of social and environmental standards, as well as establishing a code of conduct. Today, more than 171 farms, covering more than 7,600 acres devoted to growing flowers in Colombia, have qualified for, or are in the process of qualifying for, Florverde certification.

Leading the flower industry by example, the Florverde certification program is acknowledged as one of the best socio-environmental programs in the world, improving the lives and living standards of floral farm workers and their families, helping to preserve and protect the environment for generations to come, and ensuring that high-quality, affordable flowers are available to consumers year-round. The Florverde certification assures both customers and consumers that these flowers are grown under stringent sustainable production practices by workers whose lives are enhanced and protected through social initiatives provided by the farms.

Certification is verified and re-inspected annually by an independent third party, SGS, a renowned international audit company headquartered in Switzerland. A leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company, SGS is widely recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity.
Florverde is a member of GLOBALGAP, an international accreditation system.

"Understanding that two of the most precious resources any country has are its people and available natural resources, the Florverde certification program continues to make great strides, as it has over the past eleven years, to protect and enhance the well being of over 200,000 Colombian workers and their families, in addition to the environment," stated Solano.

Established in 1973 to represent the interests of the Colombian flower growers in world markets, the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores) represents more than 70 percent of total Colombian flower exports. For more information: http://www.florverde.org and http://www.asocolflores.org.

SOURCE Colombian Association of Flower Exporters


 
Monday, April 21, 2008 5:20 AM

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