Flower growers and florists across the country are passing an idle time with gloomy faces as the sale of flowers has not gathered pace ahead of Pahela Falgun and Valentine’s Day due to the coronavirus pandemic.
To celebrate Pahela Falgun and Valentine’s Day, many people, especially young ones, throng flower shops to buy flowers, floral gifts and boutiques each year.Usually, florists gear up their shops with different kinds of flowers targeting the festive occasion with many temporary flower shops popping up beside the streets in Dhaka, Chattogram, Khulna, Jashore, Sylhet, Barishal and elsewhere across the country.
But this year, the scenario of flower business is totally different due to the coronavirus pandemic, forcing growers and traders to incur losses.
Students of universities, colleges and schools are the main buyers of flowers during this festival but this year, all the educational institutions remained closed due the to coronavirus prevalence, said Abdur Rahim, president of Bangladesh Flower Society.
Students are now staying at their respective homes due to the closure of their educational institutions as well as dormitories, he said, adding that no festival has also been planned at the educational institutions this time. “For this reason, the sale of flowers has seen a sharp fall.”
Pahela Falgun, the first day of the spring, and Valentine’s Day will be celebrated tomorrow.
Many people gather in the main city points to welcome the spring with songs, poetry recitations and dance performances.Many couples hang out on the day by rickshaws, private cars, motorbikes, buses and CNG-run auto-rickshaws in the capital. They throng different tourist spots wearing colourful dresses with flowers in their hands.
Usually, farmers and traders target major festivals to double their profits and February is the best occasion for a huge sale of flowers as three festivals are celebrated in the month.
These celebrations are never complete without flowers. Be it for decoration,
presenting a bouquet to someone special or gracing the hair of women and children alike, flowers are an indispensable part of the spirit of the festivities.
Abul Kalam, president of Floating Hawkers’ Association at Shahbagh, told the Daily Sun that the flower business has seen a downward trend due to the pandemic.
“Thirty-five out of total 51 flower shops here have been closed due to the pandemic while the rest are running posting a lower sale,” he said.
Mentioning that students of universities, colleges and schools are the main customers of flowers, Kalam said they will not turn up this time as the educational institutions remained closed.
Besides, no programme will be held on Pahela Falgun due to the closure, he said.
No social programme like marriage, birthday, anniversary and seminar is being arranged in a gorgeous manner during the pandemic which dealt a heavy blow to the flower business.
Usually, the flower sale turnover is more than Tk 400-450 million across the country in the first 4-5 days of Pahela Falgun and Valentine’s Day but this year, it will be Tk 200-250 million, said Abdur Rahim.
He said farmers reduced the cultivation of flowers as the sale has seen a fall. “Flower seeds of many farmers were also damaged.”
Though the sale of flower has seen a comparative rise in Jashore, Chuadanga, Jhenaidah and some other districts from February 8, it is around 30 per cent to the last year’s sale, Rahim added.
Around 3 million people are engaged in this sector while 20,000 of them are directly involved with flower farming, he said, adding that they are now facing a livelihood crisis.