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Devotees turn to imported flowers to beat scarcity

Vishnu Pandey  |  New Delhi/ Kanpur 

Devotees have turned to the imported flower varieties to beat the acute shortage of flowers for worshipping deities and decoration purposes during the ongoing Navratra season.

The demand for these imported flowers has increased by about 50 per cent during the past week, mainly owing to destruction of floriculture farms in the heavy rains last month.

In view of the current fall in supply of desi flowers, the demand for imported flowers — mainly from Holland and Thailand — is picking up due to their longer shelf life and fancy looks.

“Imported flowers are cheaper and last longer compared with indigenous ones. Moreover, the prices of domestic flowers like rose have risen prohibitively,” said Ashok Saini, who owns a gifts and flower shop in the Civil Lines area of the city.

The price of rose in local market has doubled from the earlier Rs 70-80 per kg to prevailing Rs 150 per kg.

According to traders, the delayed monsoon this year has sabotaged the floriculture farms in Jajmau, Saniganwa and Bidhnu areas on the outskirts of the city.

He added that orchid, tulip and lily — imported from abroad — are giving better response in the retail markets.

“Last year, we hardly did 10 per cent of our business in foreign breeds of flowers but the demand has been increasing to make about 40 per cent of our business this year,” said Abdul Sharif, a flower seller near the stock exchange building.

When asked about the reason for sudden change in consumer pattern, Zafar S Naqvi, chief coordinator of Flora, a major flower supplier of the city, told Business Standard that the two-fold increase in price of local varieties had prompted the consumers to opt for cheaper and novel varieties.

“The people are fast moving towards replacing the plastic flowers with fresh ones and flowers have become a hot property for interior decoration purposes. The imported flowers serve better due to longer shelf life. However, indigenous varieties are still preferred for deity worshipping,” he added.

Another flower vendor Rambabu Kushwaha said that the demand for flowers had increased by four-five times owing to the ongoing festive season but the external supply from the neighbouring states was insufficient to fulfil the demand.

“Around 300-400 tonnes of flowers are being supplied everyday while the demand is of around 1,000 tonnes,” he said.

Within two years, the domestic flower market has shot up to Rs 1,500 crore from Rs 1,000 crore annually.

“With the change in lifestyle, people are now spending a lot of money on buying flowers for gifts, marriages and floral designing etc that has provided impetus to domestic market,” said Naqvi.

The prices of flowers have seen a spurt of up to 100 per cent in the retail market owing to insufficient supply from Delhi, Kolkata, Himachal and Andhra Pradesh.

The prices of flowers in the wholesale market have registered a rise of around 40 per cent.

First Published: Thu, September 24 2009. 00:21 IST