Export earnings stood $90,000 last year
Zahid Hossain Biplob: Flower growers and traders make huge money every year in February, the month that sees huge sales of flowers as people celebrate three major events–Pahela Falgun, Valentine’s Day and International Mother Language Day.
Farmers and traders are expecting higher turnover as both the production and demand of flowers have increased this year. “Ahead of the two festivals and Shaheed Day this month, farmers are expecting that they’ll sell flowers of Tk 60 crore,” said Babul Prashad, president of Dhaka Ful Bayabsayee Kallyan Samity Ltd.
“We earned Tk 50 crore during these three big events last year,” he added.
Abdur Rahim, president of Godkhali Flower Farmers and Traders’ Welfare Association, the country’s largest flower hub located in Jessore said Godkhali produces flowers worth around Tk 600 crore a year. “Although there is a huge potential for earning huge forex through exporting of flowers and ornamental plants, the country is lagging behind in formal initiatives to capture the international market,” he said, adding that some traders are exporting flowers in the name of vegetables and betel leaf.
Nurul Amin, senior vice-president of the Bangladesh Flower Growers and Exporters Association, told Daily Industry that the country already has a competitive advantage because of its favourable climate and low labour costs.
“We need to address a lot of issues like suitable training for people involved in flower production, packaging and preservation, cutting and marketing. Such assistance could help to boost the industry,” he told.
Cold storage training facilities, technical know-how, access to finance, adequate research and air-conditioned cargo facilities are also required, he added.
Pointing out that cut flower and foliage are under the agricultural sector, Md Ahsanullah, president of the Bangladesh Flower Growers and Exporters Association, told Daily Industry, “We want recognition and identification as separate entity.”
The government has to take more proactive initiative to boost the flower business to consider the growing demand in local and international market.
The flower industry is meeting local demand as well as contributing country’s export earnings.
Apart from this, the industry is generating employment in the country.
According to Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) sources, the annual local market size of the flower sector touched to Tk 1,200 crore, while export market earned $ 90,000 in last year. The major destination for export markets are China, Thailand and India.
Around 5 lakh people are directly or indirectly involved in commercial flower cultivation mostly rajanigandha, roses, gladiolus and marigold on over 20,000 hectares of land across the country.
Despite having enormous export potential, the country’s flower industry is yet to acquire momentum as it is hamstrung by a dearth of infrastructure and a lack of comprehensive policy support, said industry insiders.
To penetrate the global flower market and sustain its presence in it, the government needs to develop infrastructure for the sector and ensure comprehensive policy support, experts said.
Exports of flowers and floral products have seen impressive growth contributing to the gross domestic product (GDP), as the entrepreneurs is trying to tap strong demand for the non-conventional product in the global market, sources said.
The expansion of ornamental flower business is time befitting, they said.
Experts have underscored the need for improving supply chain for getting more profit in flower business at home and abroad. Still, there is no organised market of flowers in the country for the farmers to sell their product.