Initial efforts to establish an export oriented anthurium industry in the Caribbean in the 1980s and the 1990s was based on imported hybrids from the Netherlands. The early successes in the region were followed by a general demise of the industry due to varying reasons, the most important being the high cost of imported planting material, poor adaptability of cultivars to Caribbean conditions, susceptibility of imported cultivars to bacterial blight and bacterial leaf spot diseases, lack of novelty, scale of production or the organization necessary to penetrate into new markets. Only the more progressive farms were able to develop innovative solutions to the problems that allowed them to survive in spite of the decline. As a result the markets have shrunken and the industry in a state of disarray and inertia.
A high level of organization of the industry is required to penetrate into international markets. However, to date, there is no vision or a regional strategic development plan for the expansion of the industry. Furthermore, much of the information with regards to cultivars, sources of plantlets, anthurium growing methods, disease management regimes, markets and sources of funding for industry development is either not available or not accessible to the farmers. Lack of any initiatives in these areas would result in the threat of permanent loss of the potential North American markets to other players in the hemisphere.
Therefore it is imperative, given our strengths, to immediately develop a strategic plan towards the development of the anthurium industry.