Sales of flowers sale lost by about 50 percent this year compared to last year through shutdown and halt in economic activities amid the Covid-19 pandemic. It has seriously impacted people’s life style and enthusiasm to go out to celebrate festivals like Ekushey, Pohela Falgun and such other cultural events.
Financial crunch, fear of pandemic and staying indoor sharply halted brisk spending during such occasions last year and this year and business paid heavily as sales of flowers, sweats and festival clothes dropped to almost halves.
Naveen Ahsan Jitu, owner Ahna Flower Cottage told The Daily Observer that there were no noticeable sales this time as compared to last year. Talking to this Correspondent at Shahbagh on Monday where the city’s largest wholesale flower market operates, he said this year growers have missed the business.
He said flowers which were in high demand in other years saw lower demand in recent time. And it was natural, he said because when programmes for cultural festivities were limited and far a few, sales were also few.
Abdur Rahim, president of Bangladesh Flower Society said that the country’s florists were yet to overcome the impact of the pandemic on supply chain. Rahim, who is in the business for long years said, last year they had set a flowers sale target of Tk 70 crore in those three seasons but we were able to achieve round Tk 50 crore. This time the targets were yet reduced to Tk 50 crore; but were achieved only about Tk 25 crore sale. Demand has flipped.
He said flowers were cultivated this year on around 6500 hectares of lands in Jhikargacha and Sharsha upazilas in Jessore and growers were expecting good business. But this year the pandemic has destroyed the farming and the subsequent marketing. Describing the damages as huge, he sought government assistance to help the sector survive.
Gadkhali is the largest flower market of the country and the business season ranges from January to April. Commercial buyers from Dhaka and elsewhere or their agents gather in the region dispatch to destinations all over the country.
Rahim said the Tk 5,000 stimulus package for agriculture is equally applicable to flower growers at 4 per cent interest but the facility remains unutilized mainly in absence of specific guidelines on how farmers would get the loan.
Sources said flower cultivation began commercially in Gadkhali of Jashore district and now the district has the largest wholesale market of flowers in the country. Wholesalers from different regions including Dhaka come to Gadkhali to buy flowers.
Various types of flowers grow on about 6,500 hectares of land in 65 villages of Jhikargachha and Sharsha in the outskirt of Jessore town. Red, blue, yellow, purple and white flowers can be seen on both sides of the road in the villages.