The Himalayan Times, 23 Oct 2017
Flower garlands worth more than Rs 150 million were sold in the Kathmandu Valley during Tihar this year, according to florists. Florists said that 1.1 million marigold garlands, 200,000 garlands of globe amaranth and 200,000 garlands of various other flowers were sold during Tihar.
According to them, each flower garland was sold at an average of Rs 100 per garland.
“Florists recorded a good business during Tihar this year. However, flowers became slightly dearer this year following whopping increase in demand and supply-side constraints,” said Kumar Kasaju Shrestha, president of the Floriculture Association Nepal (FAN) — the umbrella organisation of domestic florists.
According to FAN, the demand of flowers during Tihar this year increased by more than 20 per cent while the domestic production of flowers was limited leading to rise in price of flowers.
Florists said that marigold and globe amaranth had retailed at an average price of Rs 70 per garland during Tihar last year.
As per the statistics of FAN, the country imported 300,000 garlands of marigold for Tihar this year while the remaining demand of flowers was fulfilled through domestic production. “The shortage of flowers this year has proved that demand is going to increase during Tihar next year. It shows floriculture sector requires further investments to boost domestic production,” added Shrestha.
Dilip Bade, vice-president of FAN, said that the government should encourage investment in the floriculture sector by introducing different promotional programmes. Citing that almost 20 per cent of the demand of flowers during Tihar is fulfilled through Indian imports, Bade said that Nepal can be self-reliant in flowers if the government prioritises floriculture industry.
According to the Commercial Floriculture Survey 2014-15, prepared by Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), only 561 farmers are engaged in floriculture on a commercial scale in Nepal. Similarly, commercial floriculture is done only over 147.4 hectares of land in 36 districts.
While Kathmandu is at the top in terms of producing flowers commercially, Lalitpur, Morang, Bhaktapur and Kaski are the other top districts where floriculture is done commercially. Of the total farmers engaged in commercial farming of flowers, 283 are based in Kathmandu.