Floriculture in the doldrums

Kathmandu, October 20:

Despite the demand for (sayapatri) marigold and makhmali flowers in the festive season, there is not enough supply.

Demand increases during the festive season but those in the flower business are worried about recovering investment as there is no security or government plan for them.

“There is demand for sayapatri and makhmali during Tihar for religious rites but no policy regarding those in the flower business,” said Shreedhar Karki, president of Floriculture Association Nepal (FAN).

FAN vice-president Loknath Gaire said, “Marigold is mostly imported from Kolkata of India.”

Karki said, “ Indian marigold is smaller and looks more attractive than the one grown here. People prefer to buy Indian marigold rather than Nepali marigold.”

Gaire said, “The flowers we import from India are hybrid and improved. They come in standard sizes and last longer than the marigold here.” Farm price of marigold from India is Rs 10-15 per one-metre garland while that of local marigold garland is Rs 7-8 per metre, he said adding, “The Indian government subsidizes farmers in this business, but we lack the facility. So, Indian flowers are cheaper than the ones cultivated here. Land, wages and cost of fertilizers are higher here.”

According to data provided by FAN, there were 80 nurseries during 1992-93, which increased to to 550 till 2003-04. The number remained stable till 2005-06. The yearly sale of plants, seasonal flowers and cut flowers was Rs 10 million in 1992-93, and it grew to Rs 230 million in 2005-06.

“There are good possibilities of export of flowers from Nepal, but due to lack of government concern the investment is high and the waiting period is more than a year,” said Gaire.