Traders at Bangladesh’s largest flower market in Jashore’s Godkhali are upset with low demand and declining prices as the nation welcomes Pahela Falgun and celebrate Valentine’s Day amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Godkhali florists usually have buoyant sales during February when three events – Pahela Falgun, Valentine’s Day and International Mother Language Day – are celebrated.According to sources, the flower business commercially started in Godkhali of Jhikargachha in 1983. Currently, the area meets 70 percent of the overall flower demand of the country. Godkhali’s success story inspired many others to take up flower cultivation.
Florists from the area say that this year the price of each flower has fallen by Tk 3 to Tk 5. The extended closure of educational institutions also added to the traders’ woes.
But so far the sales have crossed Tk 4 crore in the last four days centering Pahela Falgun and Valentines’ Day. Saturday saw one of the biggest sales.
Some farmers said last year a piece of rose was sold at Tk 15-16 but this year the price fell as low as Tk 9.
Sumon, a flower farmer, said the sale was low but he was happy that he had managed to sell 3,000 pieces of rose.
Solaiman Hossain, another flower farmer, said “I have brought 6,000 pices of rose at the market and per piece rose was being sold at Tk 9-11. The demand of flower is less than the previous year. Last year, one piece of rose was sold at Tk 17-18. But this year, we did not expect good price due coronavirus pandemic and cyclone Amphan.”Aminur Rahman, another flower grower, said “The price of rose fell by Tk 3 this year.”
Raihan Ali, a flower trader from Pabna, said he had bought a piece of rose at Tk 8-10. “I expected to buy flowers at Tk 5-6 per piece but it didn’t happen. But I’m a little worried as the government has kept the educational institutions shut to curb Covid-19.”
Haider Ali, another businessman from Jhenaidah, said this year the sales of flowers would be poor due to the closure of educational institutions.
Flower trader Shahjahan Ali said he bought flowers every year from the market and supplied to Khulna, Bagerhat, Faridpur and other districts. This year was no different for him.
Abdur Rahim, president of Bangladesh Flowers Society, blamed the closure of educational institutions and small number of cultural functions for low demand of flowers.
“Due to lack of demand, the flower farmers did not have desired sales figures,” he said.
Rahim also demanded to allow cultural functions in a limited scale for protecting the flower market worth Tk 1,500 crore.
“Every year, we have a target to sale a huge number of flowers and we manage to reach close to our target. But this year the coronavirus pandemic changed everything,” he said.
“We assume that the sale volume since Feb 8 is around Tk 5 crore.”