Colombia is one of the biggest flower exporters in the world, and their industry relies on seasonal workers to keep up with demand.

Rubiela Mendez an employee at a flower farm in Tabio, Cundinamarca department, Colombia, posses with a bunch of roses, on February 01, 2018.
Rubiela Mendez an employee at a flower farm in Tabio, Cundinamarca department, Colombia, posses with a bunch of roses, on February 01, 2018. ( AFP )

Valentine's Day is a crazy rush for Colombia, one of the biggest flower exporters in the world, resulting in huge demand for labor in greenhouses near Bogota.

That's how Rubiela Mendez and William Perez found themselves shivering in a cold they'd never known, preparing roses in a hangar 500 kilometers (300 miles) from their hometown of Cucuta, on the jungle-steamy eastern border with Venezuela.

TRT World's Adefemi Akinsanya reports.

They are among hundreds of Colombians and Venezuelans brought in on a 12-hour trip over not-so-great roads, to ready the fragrant flowers for shipment to the United States.

Valentine's Day on February 14 is one of the times of year Americans spend the most on gifts. That means a bonanza for Colombia, which is the source of 74 percent of US flower imports. Last year, between January and November, Colombia's flower industry earned $1.3 billion.

Those working to prepare the roses see only the minimum wage $300 a month— but for Mendez and Perez and labourers like them from the border, that's far better than what they had been earning.

Source: AFP