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El Niño

Drought Breaker to Drought Maker
For the many flower growers on the Pacific Coast

Recently egged on by El Niño there is much rain across California. While it's welcome, wanted and setting records, it still isn't enough to bust the drought. The entire state is still listed as either abnormally dry or in some form of drought, according to the U.S. drought Monitor in Lincoln Nebraska. It looks as if El Niño is starting to do its work. Each drop of rain that falls and every foot of snow that accumulates is a step towards improving the conditions, but will not erase the drought completely. The San Diego Union Tribune interviewed Jason Kendall from Kendall Farms about El Niño and he said that any potential problems the storms might cause, such as washing out miles of dirt roads on the Kendall farm in Fallbrook are nothing compared to the relief that lots of rain would bring after years of devastating drought. For right now the rains in California are making it a challenge for the growers to harvest the flowers in the fields. We all know that it creates a trickle down effect on pricing and product availability for the up and coming Valentine's Day season.

Colombian growers fear the consequences of El Niño rain and that early cold could disrupt production for Valentine's Day. These growers begin preparing 90 days in advance for Valentine's season. They use irrigation systems and nourish the crops to meet the high flower demand. The flower growers started growing the stems in November, in response to the shortage of water that the country is currently facing. It seems that they are doing all they can to prepare themselves for the up and coming weather problems. The growers are getting ready to deal with the weather problems by keeping in contact with meteorological network with early alerts as part of their preventive measures.

In Ecuador the growers fear the consequences of the both the possible frost on the roses and the possibility of the Cotopaxi Volcano erupting. Ecuador is one of the countries that is most directly affected by El Niño. The Ecuadorian government has issued a state of emergency for most of the country. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure to prevent a recurrence of the past El Niño weather events where so much damage was done by the flooding and drought. The growers have prepared as much as they can, and are working hard to meet the high rose demand of the Valentine's Day season. In Central America where the storms usually soak the jungles instead they have shifted northward to California. Only time will tell what affect El Niño will have on the growers in the Pacific region. We all need to have substitutions in the variety of flowers because of availability, and try to budget for the possibility of higher prices for flowers.

by Leslie Schlotman                                                                                                                                                               

Sources: San Diego Union Tribune

www.theproducenews.com

www.abc.net.ac.com