The Turkish flower sector has sent 65 million cut flowers to 24 countries for Valentine's Day, a traditionally busy period for cultivators.
The atmosphere is hectic at greenhouses in the southern Mediterranean city of Antalya, the flower production hub of the country, in the runup to Feb. 14.
Sector employees have been arriving at work in the early hours of the morning to gather mostly red flowers, particularly carnations, from the greenhouses to prepare for people's loved ones around the world.
The frenzied work continues at the greenhouses where the final shipments are being prepared ahead of the big day.
Ismail Yılmaz, chairperson of the board of the Ornamental Plants and Products Exporters Association, told Anadolu Agency (AA) that the sector closed 2021 with $148 million (TL 1.99 billion) in exports and started the year on a promising note.
The sector has set an export target of $180 million for 2022, Yılmaz noted, saying that the data in the first month of the year “made them smile” as there was a 12% increase compared to last year.
He noted that the orders are at the desired levels for Valentine’s Day.
Highlighting that most of the shipments have been completed for Feb. 14, Yılmaz said, “We send additional requests by plane.”
A total of 65 million cut flowers were sent to Europe, he said, adding that this equates to an export revenue of $9 million.
Drawing attention to the fact that the winter season was harsher this year compared to other years, Yılmaz said that this actually negatively affected flower production despite the strong results.
The sector official said flowers were delivered to 24 countries for Valentine's Day and noted that the Netherlands is the most important market for flower exports.
“The Netherlands does not put what it buys on the local market but rather sells to many countries in Europe and the world.”
Apart from the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Germany, Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine are also important markets for the sector, he said.
Yılmaz emphasized most carnations are produced in Turkey and that the red variety is most preferred on Valentine’s Day.