It all began 112 years ago, when German family Dierberger started producing flowers to sell alongside fruit at their grocery store in the city of São Paulo.
From then on, the southeastern Brazilian state of São Paulo became not only the largest producer in the country, but also the largest consumer. The victories were fueled by floriculture in the city of Holambra, the largest producer in the country.
Production in the state of São Paulo is concentrated in 20 cities, in six production hubs. The Holambra hub concentrates production in four cities, the Atibaia hub of another four cities, the Campinas hub brings together five cities, the Dutra, three cities, the Paranapanema only one and the Vale do Ribeira, three cities. Together, these hubs are responsible for 60% of Brazilian production.
São Paulo consumes almost all of this production. The state is responsible for 40% of national consumption, and the state capital, São Paulo, consumes 25%. What São Paulo does not consume, it exports.
In Brazil, the southern state of Paraná is the largest importer of flower products from São Paulo, consuming 95% of the state exports. On the foreign market, in turn, the United States is the main buyer.
In 2004, according to the Brazilian Institute of Floriculture (Ibraflor), farmers from São Paulo sold on the North American market US$ 830,000 in ornamental plants, equivalent to 72% of Brazilian exports of these species.
And in the first half of 2005 alone, São Paulo exported to that country US$ 934,000 in fresh cut flowers, which answers to 51% of exports.
Of the entire domestic flower production sold on the foreign market in the period, São Paulo answered to 67.8% of exports. Orchids produced in the state are also very successful abroad.
In the first quarter of the year, Brazil exported over US$ 45,000 in orchid saplings, a growth of 102.37% when compared to the same period in 2004. São Paulo sold around US$ 20,000, equivalent to 43% of the total of orchids exported.
Flower production in the state of São Paulo involves 5,000 producers. To trade flowers and ornamental plants, São Paulo counts on a gigantic and well-organized network of producers, traders and floriculture professionals.
In the whole of the state there are 4,000 retailers, mostly in the interior. But the main wholesale markets are in the capital.
Many deals, however, are closed in Holambra, through electronic Internet auctions, unique in the country. In the electronic system, the producers enrolled provide information about the quantity, quality, price and delivery. Clients, in turn, have more business options.
This virtual trade is directly connected to Holland, the main center for price fixing in the world flower market. This way, flower farmers from São Paulo may sell their flowers and plants without leaving their houses.
This is an interesting accomplishment for a state that, curiously, entered the flower culture market 112 years ago through a grocery store.
Capital of Flowers
The small tourist city of Holambra is a giant in the Brazilian flower and ornamental plant market. Having become a city ten years ago, and with a population of 10,000 inhabitants, the city is responsible for at least 40% of all flower production in Brazil. For this reason, it is known as the Brazilian Flower Capital.
The Holambra flower agribusiness began in 1948, when the first families of Dutch immigrants arrived in São Paulo and started breeding cattle in the area where the city is currently located.
As Friesian cattle could not adapt to the climate in the region, they decided to invest in another Dutch tradition: flowers. The business was successful. Nowadays, Holambra produces and sells flowers to Brazil and to the world.
One of the reasons for the success of flower culture in the city is the organization of the productive chain.
The Holambra Agricultural Cooperative, for example, already counts on 279 associated companies, some even from other states, which answer to 60% of national flower production.
So as to strengthen trade, Veiling-Holambra was established. This is the only electronic auction system for flower and plant trade in Brazil.