Both Americans and Europeans have a permanent passion for flowers. Since the mid-1980s, producers in the tropics, from Latin America to Africa, have increased their production of roses, carnations and other flowers to meet growing demand in the United States and Europe. 90% of the flowers and ferns imported by the United States come from Colombia, Ecuador or other Latin American countries, and Kenya provides a quarter of the bouquets of the European Union. Those roses that you buy for Valentine's Day were probably grown in a rainforest country. And many of the ferns that accompany these bouquets of flowers grow in Costa Rica and Guatemala.
The rapid growth of the floral industry has created works that are welcome in Latin America. Sales of the smooth, dark green fern, known as "leather leaf," generate $ 52 million annually to Costa Rica, where fern farms employ 6,000 people with salaries above the rural average. In Kenya, flower production has become the second largest source of trade, behind tea and ahead of coffee.More news: DIY Ideas and Tricks for Reusing Concrete Blocks
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Flower cultivation has often occurred at the expense of the health of ecosystems and the well-being of workers and surrounding communities.
Farmers of flowers and ferns tend to use agrochemicals freely, and since flowers are not a food, governments impose no restrictions on use of pesticides. With weak governmental controls, the use of pesticides and fertilizers on flower farms can threaten the health of workers and neighbors, as well as drinking water supply. In addition, in many cases governments of importing countries require the extensive use of pesticides to ensure that flowers are free of pests.