Lockdown takes the sheen off flower market in Vijayawada

Flower shop owners down the shutters in view of lockdown in Vijayawada.   | Photo Credit: KVS Giri

The otherwise bustling wholesale flower market in the city wears a deserted look, with the market association has announced closure till end of the lockdown period.

The vendors are clueless as to when the market will resume operations as uncertainty still looms large on the lifting of lockdown, which is due on April 14. They have their fingers crossed as the city had seen muted celebrations on Srirama Navami on April 2.

Their worry has a reason. They had hardly done any business during the Ugadi as the market was closed since the janata curfew on March 22.

Losses in the pick season

Usually, the flower business picks during the auspicious Sravana masaam. Women throng the market to buy flowers for Varalakshmi Vratam. This year, the Sravana Maasam begins from last week of July. But given the situation, vendors are not sure whether they would be able to do a normal business by then. If not, they have to wait till Dasara or wedding season later in the year.

“We do a business of ₹15,000 to ₹30,000 if we work from 5 a.m to 10 p.m. But, the flower business is volatile. Sometimes, all the predictions go wrong. Though the market receives jasmine during the summer and it has a good demand, it is unlikely that we will be able to recoup he losses,” says Qaja, a flower vendor.

According to information, the flower market receives supplies from Bengaluru, Kolar, Kuppam in Chittoor district, Tadepalli in Guntur district and etc. On normal days, the arrivals would be anywhere between 250 metric tonne to 400 metric tonne. During Dasara, it goes uop to 800 mt.

There are more than 80 shops in the market. And, each shop receives 3 mt to 5 mt of flowers daily.

Wholesale Flower Merchants’ Association president Sheik Jani says that the merchants and commission agents are incurring a loss between ₹15,000 to ₹20,000 daily due to the lockdown. The daily wagers working at the market, roadside vendors are also suffering.

Shorter shelf life

As the flowers shops need to be closed by 12 noon due to lockdown, the association has decided to close down the market until the lockdown is lifted.

“Flowers are perishable goods. If the stock is left unsold by the end of the day, we have no other option than dumping it the next day. So, we have downed the shutters,” explains Basha, another flower vendor.

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Printable version | Oct 20, 2020 6:02:19 PM |

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