Sweethearts and Spending: What it Means to Buy Flowers This Valentine's Day

    Florverde(R)-Certified Flower Farms Plan to Ship More Than 300 Million
Flowers to the U.S. For the Holiday of Love

    BOGOTA, Colombia, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Although consumer
spending may be down, there's one area where many Americans are willing to
forego the budget and that's romance.  In fact, according to the just-released
National Retail Federation's 2009 Valentine's Day Consumer Intentions and
Actions survey, conducted by BIGresearch, this year the number of flower
purchases will be nearly the same as last year.  The survey revealed over
one-third (35.7 percent) of people will buy flowers compared to last year's
35.9 percent.

    To meet the demand for beautiful flowers, Florverde(R)-certified farms
are planning to ship more than 300 million stems to the U.S. in time for
Valentine's Day.  Two out of every three flowers sold in the U.S. are grown in
Colombia and the majority of these blooms are grown on the 163 farms
participating in the Florverde program.

    "Florverde is a third-party certification program that represents a
commitment to social and environmental responsibility by Colombian flower
growers," said Augusto Solano, president of Asocolflores, the Association of
Colombian Flower Exporters.  "When Americans purchase flowers this Valentine's
Day, they are not only expressing an act of love and communicating emotions,
but also supporting businesses in the United States as well as global
environmental progress and social programs that help Colombian flower workers
and their families."

    Florverde farms have greatly contributed to improving the quality of life
of their workers, as well as preserving the environment.  As of December 2008,
the more than 163 Colombian farms participating in the program together amount
to 5787 acres of flower production in Colombia.  There are nearly 45,000
workers benefiting from the Florverde programs and more than 700 million
flower stems certified under this program are shipped throughout the world.

    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 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 a code of conduct.  Validating the progress, GlobalG.A.P. (The Global
Partnership for Good Agricultural Practice) recognized Florverde's
socio-environmental practices with the GlobalGAP international seal; Florverde
and GlobalGAP standards are now equivalent and mutually accepted by all
trading partners.  The GlobalGAP seal and standard is one of the most
important and recognizable certifications in the world promoting sustainable
agricultural practices.

    "The standards of these two certifications -- Florverde and GlobalGAP --
preserve and protect fertile soil and natural resources with the mission of
achieving sustainable agriculture," stated Solano.  "Retailers, flower
wholesalers and consumers around the world will continue to embrace with
confidence the beautiful flowers that come from our beautiful country."

    Colombia, Land of Flowers
    From the rich, fertile soil and the beautiful year-round climate to
cultural pride, Colombia truly is a land of beauty and flowers.  To further
support the Colombian flower industry and image of this beautiful land,
Colombian flower growers have launched a new, global branding initiative --
Colombia, Land of Flowers.  The worldwide marketing campaign was created to
build brand recognition among consumers, floral retailers and wholesalers as
well as to provide assurance of the quality and social responsibility of the
Colombian flower industry.

    www.asocolflores.org, www.florverde.org, www.ceniflores.org


For further information:

For further information: Jairo Cadavid, jcadavid@asocolflores.org,
Natalia Ochoa, comunicaciones@asocolflores.org, both for Florverde,
+57-1-257-9311, Ext: 0115-160-891-0962; or Shawn Campbell Zurawski,
+1-815-730-1772, Shawn@circlepublicrelations.com, for Florverde Web Site:
http://www.asocolflores.org                 http://www.ceniflores.org       

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