Colombia will seek to double flower exports to $3 bln by 2030

BOGOTA, Feb 11 (Reuters) - Colombia will seek to double its flower exports to $3 billion a year over the next decade by growing new species and expanding to markets in Asia and Latin America, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday.

The announcement of the goal comes ahead of Valentine’s Day, the annual high-point of flower exports from the Andean country, which principally ships to the United States.

“Our goal in 10 years is to double the exports of Colombian flowers to the rest of the world,” Duque told journalists.

Colombia is the world’s second-largest flower exporter, behind the Netherlands. Valentine’s Day accounts for 15% of its annual $1.5 billion in flower sales, according to figures from the Colombian Association of Flower Exporters (Asocolflores).

About 660 million flowers from some 1,500 varieties including roses, carnations and chrysanthemums are exported to the United States, the United Kingdom and Mexico for the day.

The expansion plan includes looking for opportunities in markets like China, Japan, South Korea as well as Latin American countries, Duque added.

The plan is a long-term roadmap to “consolidate the future of Colombian flower-growing,” Asocolflores president Augusto Solano said.

The sector currently provides some 140,000 jobs. (Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Richard Pullin)