Booming flower business, both internal trade and exports, has brought bonanza for growers and traders in Bangladesh, riding on its wider use in festivities.
Only a few days back, flower trade fetched over Tk 50 lakh a day during Pohela Falgun, the first day of the spring season of Bengali calendar, and the Valentine's Day, but now its brisk business earns not less than Tk 20 crore, according to sector people.
However, the celebration of these two occasions is confined to the capital and some other major townships.
The florists say they now look forward to a business expansion, as the historic 21st February is approaching fast.
Meanwhile, the country fetched more than Tk 400 crore from flower exports last fiscal year.
The florists eye a big business in the days to come, as Bangladeshi traditional flowers are in great demand in the world market. Flower exports that began almost 10 years ago has by this time captured markets of at least 10 major countries like India, Pakistan, Italy, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, the United States, South Korea, the Philippines, Singapore, Japan, Germany, Britain, Denmark and France. The flowers are exported from Bangladesh as cut flowers as well as flower buds for making bouquets.
Besides, Bangladesh imports a huge amount of artificial flowers per year to meet local demand. These flowers are imported mainly from China and India.
The sector has also opened up job opportunities for thousands of unemployed youths, including the women folk. Flowers are now cultivated on about 12 thousand hectares of land, mainly in Godkhali union of Jhiikorgachha upzilla under Jessore district and other 19 districts. About 4000 farmers produce various types of rose, tube rose, gerbera, gladiolus and some orchids.
Sher Ali is a pioneer in commercial cultivation of flower. He started such cultivation on a large scale in Godkhali in 1983. He successfully demonstrated that cut flowers give a 3 to 4-fold higher return than any other crop. Many farmers started growing flowers in 4 to 5 villages of Godkhali union. Currently, about 1,50,000 people are directly involved in cut flower cultivation.. Women workers are employed massively in flower collection, sorting and packaging.
New farmers are getting involved in flower production. One bigha of land can give a farmer at best Tk 40 to 45 thousand per year with three crops. And one bigha of rose garden would give Tk 100-150 thousand per year and a rose garden may last for 10-15 years. Therefore, cultivating flowers is economically profitable for the farmers.
The natural quality like fragrance and colour of indigenous flowers looks more fascinating than the ones in any other countries like Pakistan, India and the Netherlands. However, Bangladeshi growers have no scientific training on how to preserve flowers.
Agriculturists pointed out that these growers need training on preservation germination, disease control, cultivation and longevity of flowers in order to boost export growth.
The growers of India, Kenya, the Philippines, Netherlands and Thailand are following scientific methods in preserving the flowers that have durability of minimum 15 days, but the durability of the Bangladeshi flowers is not more than five days.