Growing practices and worker conditions in South America are often falsely reported during the holiday season. SAF has visited dozens of farms in Colombia and Ecuador. Here are the facts on growing conditions:
As an environmentally responsible industry, flower growers around the world have reduced the use of pesticides.
- Growers use pesticides only in sufficient quantities to manage diseases and limit pest infestations. This is important to effectively meet the consumer’s desire for a healthy, beautiful, long-lasting flower.
- Steps are being taken to reduce the use of pesticides as more growers implement natural ways to control bugs – such as good bugs eating bad bugs or plant extracts that attract bugs.
Flower farms provide a safe, healthy and stable working environment.
- Farm owners recognize that happy and healthy employees make productive employees, and are dedicated to providing good benefts and a pleasant work environment.
- Workers are educated and trained on proper pesticide application and use of protective gear.
- Workers have stable jobs at or above minimum wage, and have available benefits such as medical and dental assistance, hot meals, transportation services, and even childcare and housing in some cases.
Growers are striving every day to get better. A prime example is voluntarily participation in certification programs where they are implementing sustainable growing techniques.
- There are several flower growing certification programs around the world that promote environmental and social responsibility. These programs — such as FlorVerde, FlorEcuador, Green Label Program, Veriflora — are monitored and audited by independent verification companies. That’s how serious growers are about standards.
- Each of these programs has its own auditable parameters. Environmental stewardship and social responsibility are the common elements of all of the programs.
- Even growers who are not yet certified are voluntarily taking steps to become more environmentally and socially responsible.