Flower traders see sales bloom during Tihar fest

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Flower traders see sales bloom during Tihar fest

Oct 9, 2014-

Flower traders are upbeat about sales during the Tihar festival which is around the corner. The Floriculture Association Nepal (Fan) has estimated that 600,000 flower garlands will be sold in the Kathmandu valley alone during the second biggest Hindu festival after Dashain.

For the country’s floriculture industry, Tihar is the busiest time of the year when sales go boom. Around 40 percent of the total business happens during the period which fortifies the Rs 4.5 billion industry for the rest of the year.

Florists are optimistic about sales due to the increased production in the country this year. In the past, the shortfall in output would be fulfilled through imports.

“There will be a very great rush during the five days of Tihar, and we are also upbeat about the expected sales this year,” said Fan President Loknath Gaire. He added that around 60 percent of the total demand would be met by local production this year as a result of increased local production.

Until a few years ago, the story was different when the floriculture industry was just beginning to blossom. “The country would import most of its flower requirements until two years ago, and today the situation has been reversed,” Gaire said.

Marigolds are the most highly sought-after flowers during Tihar when all types of flowers are sold in massive quantities in the market. “There is a tradition of worshipping dogs, crows and cows and demand for marigolds soars,” said Gaire.

Similarly, sisters offer flower garlands to their brothers on Bhai Tika which is believed to strengthen the sacred bond between them.

Rajesh Bhakta Shrestha, director of Standard Nursery, said that he expected to sell 2,500 garlands this season compared to 2,000 last year. “Production is good compared to last year, so sales should be better this year,” he added.

Similarly, Sanjeeb Karki, chairman of Global Flora, said their sales target was 50,000 garlands, 10,000 more than last year. However, he said that the market could face a shortage of chrysanthemums as the Tihar festival occurs earlier in the season this year.

“I think we will have to import chrysanthemums from India which will push up retail prices.” According to him, a chrysanthemum garland could cost up to Rs 300 to Rs 400 compared to Rs 100 last year.  

Karki said that globe amaranth and marigold prices would be determined by the supply and demand situation as they were the greatest selling flowers during the festival. Last year, marigolds cost Rs 40 per garland while globe amaranths cost Rs 20 per garland.

Meanwhile, in a bid to cash in on festive flower sales, Fan has planned to hold a Flower Expo at Jawalakhel Football Stadium starting from October 17. The fair will contain 30 stalls showcasing a wide variety of flowers for the Tihar festival.

The organisers expect transactions of Rs 2.2 million during the three-day expo. Gaire said that customers could buy flowers and also get information about different flowers and the domestic floriculture industry at the event.

Around 41,000 people are directly or indirectly involved in the floriculture industry. According to the association, there are around 650 flower farms and nurseries occupying 137 hectares in 38 districts across the country.

Published: 10-10-2014 09:37

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