Foreign Valentines push up the cost of local flowers
BANGALORE: If the roses you buy for your valentine are burning a deep hole in your pocket, you have only the people in Israel, the U.S., Germany and Japan to blame.
While these fragrant symbols of love usually cost more on Valentine’s Day, the prices of roses locally, this time around, have shot up because the demand [for roses] from other countries has grown phenomenally, Lakshmi Raju, Deputy Director in Department of Horticulture, told The Hindu.
Ideal agro-climatic conditions and inexpensive input material such as cheap labour mean that roses grown in Bangalore Urban district are priced at rates much lower than in markets across the world. As many as 32 companies in the city have exported nearly 50 million roses, earning an approximate Rs. 60 crore, during this export season between January 28 and February 7.
This Valentine’s Day, a single stem of the romantic flower costs a whopping Rs. 20, when the rate throughout the year is a mere Rs. 4 or Rs. 5. “People will be willing to pay even if we demand Rs. 25,” said Pranav, a florist on Queen’s Road, who like all other florists buys his goods from K.R. Market. In previous years, the price of a rose on Valentine’s Day was only Rs. 8, he said.
The nodal centre for export of roses is the International Flower Auction Centre at Hebbal and growers from places around Bangalore such as Hoskote, Doddaballapur, Magadi, Nelamangala, Kolar and Chikballapur do business here.
“The flowers we export are long-stemmed, about a foot long. They are grown in green houses, under controlled conditions. For local markets, the stem length is only between 3 inches and 6 inches, and are grown in open fields,” Ms. Raju said.
Forty per cent of the total exports from India comes from the State and are exported to the biggest flower auction centre, Aalsmer in the Netherlands.