Flower Sales Help Cultivate Peace in Colombia

For Immediate Release

Friday, February 13, 2009
USAID Press Office

Bogotá, Colombia - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in Colombia is launching an initiative to market high-quality, socially-responsible Colombian products for retail sale in the United States.

USAID facilitated an alliance between Tecnovo, an NGO that provides support to people affected by armed conflict, and Grower-2-Buyer, a Miami-based company which distributes fresh-cut Colombian flowers to 174 wholesalers and 11 supermarket chains in the United States and Canada.

This initiative provides legitimate business opportunities for Colombians, steering them away from cultivating illicit crops. Former enemies in the Colombian armed conflict are now working together with people who have lost their homes and the disabled to produce hand-made ceramic vases for miniature roses distributed by Grower-2-Buyer.

Grower-2-Buyer's expertise in flower distribution, along with its access to U.S. retailers, has proven to be an effective vehicle to bring USAID-supported products to the U.S. market. As a result of this alliance, 100 stores in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Delaware will carry the USAID-branded product "the Love-Bunch" in time for Valentine's Day. The product is also being sold online at www.love-bunch.com.

"By working together to help transform communities deeply affected by the conflict, we are more than the sum of our parts. This initiative will help inform U.S. citizens of the work that USAID is doing with companies like Grower-2-Buyer to cultivate a lasting peace in Colombia," said Susan Reichle, USAID Mission Director in Colombia.

"Our experience with USAID has been inspiring. Our collaboration has resulted in the development of a new product - one that we are very proud of - as it has not only enabled our business to grow but allowed us to join in the effort to bring peace to Colombia," said Daniel Sabogal, owner of Grower-2-Buyer.

For more information about USAID, please visit: www.usaid.gov.