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Japan’s devastating tsunami last year has affected the production of cut flowers and plants in Japan. The Dutch magazine Vakblad voor de Bloemisterij, cited in Florist & Wholesaler Buyer, a British publication, quoted official statistics that showed a 5 percent drop in production in Japan. Imported flowers and plants are taking up the slack from the drop in domestic production in Japan, it stated.

According to a June 14 interview with Augusto Solano, president of Asocolflores, the Colombian association of flower exporters, Japan has become Colombia’s third top destination for flower exports. The United States ranks first, Mr. Solano told The Produce News, with $957 million in flower exports from Colombia in 2011. That is about 77 percent of all export sales. Russia is second with $61 million, the United Kingdom is fourth with $44 million and Canada fifth with $28 million.

It’s not just the tsunami that’s causing Japanese production to drop, however. According to the Dutch magazine, most Japanese growers are now in their 60s and, as in other countries, the next generation is not following in their footsteps. Chrysanthemums are the biggest Japanese floral crop, followed by carnations and roses. Japanese consumers spend on average about $126 per year for flowers. About 70 percent of flower sales in Japan are to commercial operations such as offices and hotels.