‘This year has been unprofitable due to unfavourable weather’

For flower exporters, love is in full bloom, literally. And Europe appears to be saying it with flowers, with love from India, this Valentine’s Day. Exporters are rejoicing as sales have been soaring in the week leading up to February 14.

Growers, on the other hand, are a disappointed lot as they have not been able to reap profits.

Important factor

The export worth of the flowers is an important factor for growers. Mohan Rao, who has been involved in flower cultivation in Nelamangala for the last 10 years, said this year had been an unprofitable one due to unfavourable weather conditions.

“I had to spend Rs. 3 lakh for three borewells owing to erratic rainfall. The weather led to early budding, so only 10,000 of the 1 lakh stems was export worthy this season. When compared to sales of Rs. 15 lakh last year, it is only about Rs. 7 lakh this year,” he said. The direct export rates of rose stems too have reduced from Rs. 12 a stem to rates ranging from Rs. 6 to Rs. 8, he added.

‘High production cost’

General secretary of the South India Floriculture Association Jayaprakash Rao said that the cost of production for growers was high. The government had previously announced during the 2010-11 budget that power tariff would be reduced from Rs. 6 per unit to Rs. 2. However, it has not yet been implemented despite growers’ pleas, he said.

For growers whose entire yield is not export worthy, there is the option of auctioning the produce at the International Flower Auction Bangalore (IFAB). Managing Director of IFAB Ltd., G. Vasantha Kumar, said there was an average increase of 50 per cent in arrivals at the IFAB, in addition to the 10 per cent new buyers this time. He added that about 60 per cent of the annual exports are clustered around February 14.

Sales expected

“Around February 9 last year, we sold around 1.3 lakh stems. This year, it is approximately 2.3 lakh, which is an increase of at least 1 lakh. Around February 14 last year, about 10 lakh stems were sold in five days. This year, we expect sales of around 12 lakh in the same period. Many of the flowers from the IFAB are transported mainly to Hyderabad and New Delhi, followed by Kolkata,” Mr. Kumar said.

The IFAB sees an average trade of Rs. 50 to Rs. 60 crore on a yearly basis, with sales reaching Rs. 100 crore, including ornamental plants.

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