Sujan Dhungana, The Himalayan Times, 18 Oct 2017
With Tihar — the festival of flowers and lights — already kicking in, florists have said that the market this year is likely to face a crunch of marigold, a flower in high demand, during the festival.
As Tihar this year is almost two weeks ahead compared to the previous year, florists have said that most marigolds are yet to blossom in the farmlands and that is likely to affect the supply of the flower to the Tiharmarket.
Marigold is widely used during Tihar, especially for Laxmi Puja, which falls on Thursday. On that day, people decorate their houses, especially doors and windows with marigold in the belief that doing so pleases Laxmi — the goddess of wealth — who will shower blessings on them.
“Since Tihar falls earlier this year, farmers — especially those engaged in the seasonal floriculture business targeting the Tihar festival — say that marigold and other flowers that are also used during the festival such as globe amaranth (supari phool in Nepali) are yet to blossom in their farmlands. Thus, supply of marigold will be affected this year,” said Kumar Kasaju Shrestha, president of Floriculture Association of Nepal — the umbrella organisation of domestic florists.
Earlier, FAN had assumed that the domestic market would demand almost 1.1 million marigold garlands during Tihar this year, of which domestic sources would supply 800,000 garlands.
“Traders have already imported 300,000 marigold garlands for Tihar.However, the market is yet to receive marigold from domestic sources,” informed Shrestha.
FAN officials also hinted that marigold would be slightly costlier this year due to its low supply.
While florists had sold marigold at an average of Rs 70 per garland during Tihar last year, they have said that a garland of marigold this year could cost up to Rs 90.
According to FAN, the Tihar market this year will have a demand of almost 1.5 million units of garlands made of different flowers. They have estimated the demand for marigold garlands to be 1.1 million, globe amaranth garlands – 400,000 and garlands of other flowers to be 100,000 units.
Meanwhile, florists have said Nepal is on the verge of becoming self-sufficient in flowers within the next two years as production of flowers has been increasing every year. According to FAN, the country currently imports 20 per cent flowers, mainly marigold for Tihar from India.
Floriculture is being carried out on more than 150 hectare land across the country at present.