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1. INTRODUCTORY REMARKS - M.K. Papademetriou[1]

Firstly, allow me to welcome you to the FAO Regional Office and to this Expert Consultation. You may wish to know that this Meeting has been organized and sponsored by the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. I am grateful to my colleague Dr. Narong Chomchalow who initiated this Meeting over two years ago, before my coming to Bangkok; he is not here today due to other commitment, but he will be with us tomorrow. I am also grateful to all of you for coming here to make your contribution to the Meeting.

People all over the world realise that flowers enhance the quality of life and influence human feelings more than words or other gifts. This leads to increased use of flowers and ornamental plants. Considering that floriculture is, and will continue to be a lucrative business, the Asian flower growing community needs to consolidate its position in the emerging flower industry and take its rightful place on the world stage as a quality producer of floriculture products.

The region has inherent competitive strengths, which can be further sharpened by coordinated government policies and private initiatives, to make it a significant player in the world trade of floriculture products. However, a carefully thought strategy has to be adopted to build on its strengths and enhance its share of the world trade.

Strengthening cooperation among countries, institutions and individual scientists in production development is very important. A forum like this will allow us to learn from each other. We must explore the possibilities of sharing our experiences for mutual benefit. It is in this context, that this Consultation has been convened. Briefly, its objectives are the following:

a) To review the status of Cut Flower Production in Asia, discuss the problems faced as well as strategies and requirements for production development.

b) Elaborate on the Potential and Opportunities for Cut Flower Production Development in Asia.

c) Discuss ways and means of strengthening collaboration on cut flower research and development.

And now I wish you all productive discussions and good contacts among one another for the exchange of information, experience and expertise.

[1] Senior Plant Production and Protection Officer, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok, Thailand

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