Friday, August 14, 2009

Belize grower query on orchid farming.

*** Orchids grown around Lake Okeechobie, S. Florida.
** Florida Moth Orchid

August 14th., 2009

Letter of enquiry to Manuel Trujillo, Director of Research and Development at Central Farm Government Agriculture Station in Belize.

Dear sir;

Do you think you could enquire of the Taiwanese Mission and get some clarifications of the orchid growing program they are currently doing? Am concerned about the orientation in species that are being developed?
Recent discussions on the Belize Culture List serve, by experts in the Florida, USA, have pointed out a discrepancy in these early days of this Taiwanese Mission horticulture project. The project itself is exciting and breaks new ground in Belize and opens up windows of opportunity previously undreamed of, by the small circle of entrepreneurs in Belize.
The director of the research for Taiwan is to be recommended for his skill in introducing this system into Belize. The tour of the greenhouse, the other day blew my mind, being an amateur layman and I did not understand a half of what he had to say.
In essence, the future of this project has good potential. Where the misunderstandings came in, were not so much involved with the methodology, or foreign market potential, but the choice of varieties. Recent discussions with our Florida Belize Culture list serve counterparts who are in the business up there in the USA. One person grows over 700 varieties of orchids, and another ( my daughter ) Mrs. Sharon Auxillou Urscheler of Flora Tech Landscapes of South Florida, questioned the sample in the photograph we recently published on our website discussions.
They were both familiar with the orchid in question and the methodology involved. Your position as head of RESEARCH and DEVELOPMENT in Central Farm would seem to be in the position of identifying the market any orchids, or bromeliads in Belize are going to be prepared and shipped too? What we got from both professionals who use these orchids in a commercial setting in the USA, was the impression that any variety that required temperature controlled greenhouse, air conditioning would be impracticable for any possible markets available to Belizean orchid growers. Due to the high cost of electricity in Belize over a three year growing period. Previous applications for land at cooler higher altitudes in the Belize Alps to grow such orchids over the past eight years, were stonewalled by the government bureaucracy. The orchid in the photo I’m told, is bought by my daughter in South Florida and resold and installed in hotels and offices in their business and costs them $7 usa each distributor prices. This does not gell with the costs of operating electricity for an air conditioned greenhouse by a grower in Belize for a flower plant, that takes three to five years to grow. It was suggested to us on the list serve, that electricity costs in Belize would prohibit any such varieties for marketing.
The question when given to the Director of the Orchid program in Central Farm, was replied, that they grow and ship for export millions of such orchids in Taiwan. I wonder therefore if you can get a clarification of price and targeted market that Taiwan is using? Is it Japan, Hong Kong, or where? One would think in Belize our market would be the USA and Canada? A smaller possibility of Europe? You are talking 6 weeks shipping time, reefer cargo containers here to Europe. Comparison of available markets for export and prices would be necessary to decide on varieties I would think? I would appreciate your feedback for a further developmental fact finding informational article to publish for entrepreneurs in this business future.
My daughter Sharon, in the business herself in South Florida, suggested some other varieties with which I am not familiar. I would also suppose there are different markets and requirements for marketing in places like Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf oil and tourist states? Before the Taiwanese Mission in this new introductory orchid growing technique go much further, it would seem both markets and varieties, particularly if possible, to remove the high cost of electricity would be necessary to build a viable export business?
Therefore this query goes to you as head of Research and Development at Central Farm and I gather you will have to do some research into markets, varieties, prices and growing compatibility studies in our local environment, to build a successful future for such an export industry for Belize. I await your facts research response with eagerness. This of course will give direction to the Taiwan Mission project, when they know more thoroughly the varieties they need to concentrate on, in our local marketing and growing environmental conditions.

Ray Auxillou
Head of Development Research for the ‘Belize Development Trust’
Editor - Falconview Newsletter for ‘Western Belize Happenings’.

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