Godkhali florists usually have bumper sales in February when three events – Pahela Falgun, Valentine’s Day and International Mother Language Day – are celebrated
Traders at Bangladesh’s largest flower market in Jessore ’s Godkhali are upset with low demand and declining prices as the nation welcomes Pahela Falgun and celebrates Valentine’s Day amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Godkhali florists usually have bumper sales in 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% 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 the price of each flower has fallen by Tk3 to Tk5 this year. The extended closure of educational institutions added to the traders’ woes.
However, sales crossed Tk4 crore in the last four days due to Pahela Falgun and Valentines’ Day. Saturday saw some of the highest sales.
Some growers said a rose was sold at Tk15-16 last year, but this year the price was as low as Tk9.
Sumon, a flower grower, said sales were low but he was happy that he had managed to sell 3,000 roses.
Solaiman Hossain, another flower grower, said: “I had brought 6,000 roses to the market and each rose was being sold at Tk9-11. The demand for flowers is less than the previous year. Last year, one rose was sold at Tk17-18.
“We did not expect good prices due to the coronavirus pandemic and cyclone Amphan,” he added.
Aminur Rahman, another flower grower, said: “The price of roses fell by Tk3 this year.”
Raihan Ali, a flower trader from Pabna, said he had bought a rose at Tk8-10. “I expected to buy flowers at Tk5-6 per piece but it didn’t happen. I am a little worried as the government has kept educational institutions closed to curb Covid-19.”
Haider Ali, a businessman from Jhenaidah, echoed that the sales of flowers would be poor this year due to the closure of educational institutions.
Flower trader Shahjahan Ali said he buys flowers from the market every year and supplies them to Khulna, Bagerhat, Faridpur and other districts. This year was no different.
Abdur Rahim, president of Bangladesh Flowers Society, blamed the closure of educational institutions and smaller number of cultural functions for the low demand for flowers.
“Due to lack of demand, the flower growers did not hit their desired sales figures,” he said.
Rahim also demanded that cultural functions be allowed on a limited scale to protect the Tk1,500 crore flower market.
“Every year, we have targets to sell a huge number of flowers and we manage to get close to our target. But the coronavirus pandemic changed everything this year,” he said.
“We assume that the sales volume since February 8 is around Tk5 crore,” he added.