Turkey has exported 50 million stems of cut flowers to 20 countries, led by the Netherlands, Britain and Germany due to Valentine's Day, celebrated all around the world on Feb. 14 and known as being crucial in terms of cut flowers exports.
Ismail Yılmaz, the chairman of the Central Anatolian Ornamental Plants and Products Exporters' Association, said there was a 10 percent decrease in production in the last two months due to heavy rainfall in the Mediterranean city of Antalya, known as Turkey's cut flower production center.
He said 50 million stems, amounting to around $8 million, have been exported for Feb. 14. "It is a good figure for the flower industry," he noted. "On Feb. 14, we make most of our sales to European countries with the Netherlands, Britain, Germany, Romania and Bulgaria dominating the top five. We have exported to 20 countries."
Yılmaz noted that mostly red carnations are sold on Feb. 14 and that the colors differ by country, adding pastel colors are sold in Europe, while the Eastern Bloc prefers red and white.
"Each country has its own special color group. Light pink is very popular in Britain, but in Romania we cannot sell light pink at all," he said, pointing to white as the most popular color in Greece, red and white in Romania, pastel colors in Europe, and more vibrant colors in the Eastern Bloc. Stating that predominantly rose is preferred on Valentine's Day, Yılmaz highlighted that due to climatic conditions in Turkey, rose production is rarely in Turkey, saying roses produced at home are consumed in the domestic market, while exports mostly focus on cut flowers led by carnations.
Besides carnations, which never go out fashion and can be used all the time, Yılmaz said they also export baby's-breath and chrysanthemum, but at a lower level, stressing there has been some increase in the production of carnations in recent years.
Pointing to the increase in the consumption of flowers in the domestic market, he recalled the sales increase especially on special days and that red roses are preferred in the domestic market.
"We consume the roses we produce in the domestic market, leaving 65 percent for imports. Because our production area is insufficient to meet the demand. Special greenhouses and suitable climatic conditions are required to produce roses," Yılmaz said. "We have to import them on special days. High quality roses are produced in Colombia, Ecuador and Kenya and enter Turkey through the Netherlands." He also suggested that domestic consumers prefer carnations instead of roses.