COLD STORAGE AND TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS FOR CUT FLOWERS CUTTINGS AND POTTED PLANTS.
The energy crisis which occurred in the early 70s resulted in a great shift in cultivation areas for floriculture plants from relatively cold climates in the northern sphere toward warmer climates. Thus, new production areas were created in countries which hadn't had any tradition in the commercial production of flowers eg. Columbia, Israel, Mexico, Kenya. This shift concerned mainly the plants requiring high temperatures during the cultivation in the greenhouse and long periods of growth. The increasing costs of air transportation forced many growers, wholesalers and exporting companies to use widely truck transportation and containerized transportation of flowers overseas by merchant ships. This, in turn, required new methods for handling flowers after harvest, as well as during and after transportation.
Crucial progress in post-harvest handling of cut flowers and potted plants has been achieved during the last 20 years. The idea of "the chain of life" (Staby et al., 1978) was introduced to the floricultural industry in USA and Canada. The idea was based on the refigeration of cut flowers and other commodities starting from the harvest, through storage, grading, packing, transportation until the final florist's shop. The optimum temperature and the optimum length for the storage and transportation periods have been determined for various flowers in order to preserve an overall quality. New methods of cut flowers and potted plants packing, precooling, and appropriate transportation systems have been discovered and introduced to the practice. Also the industry has developed new storage procedures for cut flowers, cuttings and potted plants. All of these achievements have created new production and marketing opportunities for growers, wholesalers and exporters. Improved methods of storage and transportation allowed for a better adjustment of flowers supply to the requirements of the market and to a great extent eliminated flower losses.