The basis of Ecuador's comparative advantage in the production of roses?


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Connor Sephton answered
Most of Ecuador's rose farms are located in Cayambe and Cotopaxi regions and are within an hours drive from Quito, the capital of Ecuador.  The altitude is around 10,000 and the rose farms are at the foot of volcanoes that rise more than 20,000 feet.  The rose fields benefit from fertile soil, high altitude, and the intense sunlight that lasts up to 12 hours each day.  The location close to the equator makes an ideal growing condition and the roses thrive.  They have vibrant color and large heads.  They are prime roses and fetch a premium price.  Because of the location and conditions, the roses flower year round. 

Because of these advantages, Columbia and Ecuador roses account for 90% of the roses sold in the United States last year.  The revenues gained by taxes paid by rose growers have allowed the country to improve its infrastructure.  Huge plastic covered structures have been built to protect the roses.  Roads have been paved, schools built, and huge sophisticated irrigation systems have been developed and constructed.  Airports and transportation has been developed so that a rose that is picked today in Ecuador can be in the United States tomorrow ready for delivery.

As more focus is and scrutiny is being made on the worker's safety and exposure to harmful pesticides, the rose worker's conditions are improving.  The advantage of low labour costs still exists even with employees earning more than the average national wage.  Many employees have some access to healthcare.  Insecticides, herbicides, fungicides, and soil fumigants used in the greenhouses are causing serious health problems for Ecuador's rose workers, most of whom are women. These chemicals are toxic.  As the movement grows for free trade certification with talks of boycott, hopefully conditions for the employees will improve as more farms implement these practices.

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