Exports not so rosy ahead of Valentine’s Day

Roses brought for auction in the International Flower Auction Bangalore in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

Roses brought for auction in the International Flower Auction Bangalore in Bengaluru on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K.

Business hit by dip in production and coronavirus scare

Bengaluru, one of the major exporters of roses, caters to the huge demand for the flower in many European and West Asian countries ahead of Valentine’s Day on February 14. But, this year, the business is dull owing to a dip in production as well as restrictions on airlines in the wake of the coronavirus scare.

The curbs on airlines has led to an increase in freight charges, and many carriers are less inclined to take perishable cargo, said V.H. Prasad, one of the directors of the International Flower Auction Bangalore Ltd (IFAB). Moreover, the production of roses has been badly affected because of the downy mildew disease.

The two major varieties of red roses that are being exported this year are Taj Mahal and Brilliant. “Roses are produced in Bengaluru Rural, Doddaballapur, Chikkaballapur, Kolar, Tumakuru, Ballari, Hassan, Hosur and Anantapur. Downy mildew disease affected rose plantations in Bengaluru and Hosur,” he said.

T.M. Aravind, director of the South India Floriculture Association (SIFA), said another setback was the early production of roses in Hosur. Mr. Prasad said the best window for production for exports ahead of Valentine’s Day is between January 27 and February 13. “However, roses were ready in Hosur by January 20. The shelf life is not more than 15 to 20 days,” said Mr. Prasad.

Good demand in local market

The saving grace for rose growers is the demand in the local markets owing to the ongoing wedding season. A.S. Mithun, Business Development Manager, IFAB, said every day, more than five lakh stems of roses are being auctioned at the centre. With reduced production, the demand is high, and this is fetching growers a good price.

On Tuesday, the highest price for one stem of Taj Mahal (red rose variety) was ₹22.95. “On February 12, the prices of all varieties of roses may peak. The cost per stem may go up to anywhere between ₹25 and ₹30,” said Mr. Mithun.

Sellers are hoping that the wedding season, which extends till mid-March, will continue to boost demand. “In Delhi, which is one of the major local markets, a bunch of 20 stems is being sold at ₹400. The local market here will sustain for another month,” said Mr. Prasad.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 2:05:22 AM |

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