KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 24

The country has become self-reliant in marigold in recent years.

Last year 2.5 million garlands of marigold were sold during the Tihar festival when the demand for marigold garlands soared. This year, however, the demand was only for 1.5 million garlands.

Around 300,000 garlands of marigold used to be brought from India to meet the demand during Tihar. There is high demand for marigold (globe amaranth) and chrysanthemum during Tihar.

This year people grew flowers on a commercial scale, the production was also good but the flowers did not get the market. It is said 95 per cent of flowers is produced in the country and only five per cent is imported from India.

Flower trade has still not picked momentum due to the risk of coronavirus infection.

Although various other sectors of the economy have gradually started operating amid the COVID-19 risk, flower trade has not gained momentum. The flower trade could not flourish this year as programmes and functions were not held due to the COVID-19 risk. Besides, the purchasing power of people has decreased and the wedding season has also drawn to a close.

Although temples and places of worship have opened of late, the tourism sector has not fully come into operation and the flower trade has also been affected by this, said Floriculture Association of Nepal President Kumar Kasajoo Shrestha.

Transaction of flowers was Rs 3.5 million daily before the onset of the pandemic. It slumped to only Rs 500,000 at present. The annual flower transaction was in the range of Rs 2.42 billion in previous years. Although flower transaction was estimated at around Rs 3 billion in the current fiscal year, it will be far less due to the impact of coronavirus.

Nepal annually imports flowers worth Rs 110 million from third countries during Tihar and other seasons.

Flowers of 450 species are grown in Nepal for commercial purpose. More than 41,000 people directly or indirectly benefit from flower cultivation and trade.

Seven-hundred entrepreneurs are cultivating flowers in around 157 hectare land in Nepal. Six-hundred-and-seventy-five floriculture farms and nurseries are in operation in 41 districts, especially in Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kaski, Chitwan, Makawanpur, Kavrepalanchowk, Gulmi, Palpa, Dhading, and Morang, among other districts, with the growing demand for flowers in recent years.

Floriculture business started in Nepal in 1950 and it has been expanding with increasing urbanisation. Around 300 entrepreneurs are engaged in flower cultivation and trade in Kathmandu valley alone.