Flowers are the queens of nature. They are majestic, beautiful and bright.
Many flowers also possess a beautiful fragrance which are sometimes used in perfumes. Flowers have been used as a gift for the beloved since time immemorial. To this day, a lover would gift a flower such as rose to express his feelings. Aesthetically pleasing, flowers have the prowess to make our minds tranquil and to make our hearts joyful. Recently, rooftop gardening has become a trend. In the concrete jungle, these give respite. A large collection of plants found atop roofs are flower plants. Growing flower plants is relatively an easy activity. For this reason, they can be planted by both experts as well as novices. In the meantime so many people are now becoming more interested in cultivating flowers commercially.
The reasons are many. As said above, aesthetic and emotional purposes are the top priorities. Flowers also have many other uses. The women of Bangladesh love to adorn their hair with flowers now and then. Sometimes it is a single flower that decorates hair while at other times, it is a beautiful floral crown. Flowers are also used to embellish houses. We cannot also deny the Ayurvedic benefits of many flowers, for which reason they are used regularly in parlours for spa. Rosewater and rose petals, for example, are used in skin treatment. Owing to all these multi-dimensional uses, flower business is booming incredibly in our country.
Once upon a time there were only a handful of flower shops in Dhaka. But now the trend has changed to a great extent. Now we find flower shops almost everywhere in the city because the demand has increased in many folds. One such flower shop is Dhaka Rosarium, located in Uttara.
They have their own flower garden in Tangail from where around 4,000 to 5,000 flowers are brought to the store every other day! The figure itself is a witness of the growing demand of flowers. Proprietor of Dhaka Rosarium, Tanvir Ahmed, said, “Now it is a popular trend to buy flowers. There was a time when the idea of spending money for a flower was uncommon. However, people love to celebrate various occasions with flowers now. There are also various festivals all around the year where having flowers is considered a quintessential.”
Rose is the most popular flower among buyers. Other popular flowers grown here in our country are gladiolus, chrysanthemum, orchid, etc. Chinese and Indian flowers are also quite popular. But in order to do business one needs to take some factors into account. “Something that is always a challenge is understanding consumers’ behaviour. On a certain day, it may be so that thousands of flowers get sold. On another day, it may be only few. Flowers have a lifespan so we need to be careful”, said Tanvir. He further added, “During certain occasions such as Pahela Falgun sales are high. In winter, there are many occasions such as weddings which also boost our sales. However, business is quite low in the off-season.”
Well, not only the businessmen but also different stakeholders are now putting emphasis on flower business. As a reflection of that, a three-day-long flower festival was organized at Bangla Academy premises last week. It was where innovation had met art through a mesmerizing floral interpretation. There were various things made of flowers such as boats, horse carriage etc. The festival had floral crowns, a floral swing for kids as well as other props. It was organized by Innovation and Incubation Centre for Enterprises (IICE). A total of 14 pavilions and 33 stalls participated in the fair for displaying flowers of different varieties. Such initiative will definitely encourage the people who are eager to invest in flower business.
However ample fields are now dedicated in Bangladesh to flower cultivation. The reason is simple. Flowers contribute greatly to the economy. When flower business first began its journey in Bangladesh, the number of farms supplying horticultural plants was minimal.
But the number has increased in many folds in the last two decades. Even the annual sales have jumped from Tk. 250 million to Tk. 20 billion today, according to recent industry data. As a result, floriculture is expanding in various districts of the country, mostly in Jessore, Jhinaidah, Chuadanga, Mymensingh, Gazipur, Manikgonj, Tangail, Narayngonj and Rangamati. Almost 20 thousand farmers are now directly involved in floriculture and they are cultivating flowers like rose, tuberose, marigold, jervera, gladioli etc. for commercial purposes. According to Bangladesh Statistical Bureau (BBS), rose has been cultivated in 189 acres in the 2012-13 FY while marigold’s cultivation has been increased from 926 acres to 1467 acres, tuberose’s cultivation has been increased from 666 acres to 2339 acres in the 2013-14 fiscal year. According to a report prepared by Bangladesh Tarrif Commission, a farmer earns 25 lac taka by the cultivation of jervera, 2 lac taka from rose, 1 lac taka from marigold and also 1 lac taka from gladioli per acre.
Considering these prospects many experts now think that flower business can be expanded further as it has huge potential in the domestic market as well as international market. Many even think that Bangladesh should now concentrate on the international market and try to export flowers. If we can do so, it can be a good source of revenue for Bangladesh. Columbia, for the first time, introduced the idea of exporting flower to the international market. They were so successful that other countries like Netherlands, Israel, Holland, Mexico, Peru and Kenya followed them immediately and became successful as well. The total world export of flowers during 2002-2003 exceeded to 1.37 billion dollars. According to the experts, the trade is growing at a highly encouraging rate of 11 percent a year. This has encouraged countries like Columbia, Guatemala, Germany, Netherland, Kenya, India and some other Asian countries to think about the trade of flower seriously and take necessary steps. Now it is the perfect time for Bangladesh to think about this issue and give some serious thoughts to its prospects as we have very good potential in the international market because of our favourable environment and fertile land appropriate for flower production.
Despite the fact that we have almost everything in our favour to grab international flower market, there are some challenges as well. First of all, there is no such infrastructure in our country till now to ensure a smooth liaison between the suppliers and the international buyers.
Even sometimes root-level farmers have to face different hardships to supply fresh flowers to the city areas without any kind of scratch. This happens because of poor packaging system and lack of technical knowledge about production and marketing. Concerned stakeholders need to work on these issues and sort out proper solutions. Secondly, it is also true that there is no policy framework undertaken by the government in this regard to help the interested people in exporting flowers to the international market. Moreover proper training related to floriculture should be given to the farmers and people involved in the packaging and marketing process should be trained as well.
If these problems can be minimized, Bangladesh can earn a huge amount of foreign currency by exporting flowers to the international market. This will not only boost our economy but our farmers and other stakeholders can make a quick buck as well.