Prolonged winter during the Valentine season (mid-February) in Europe has affected Karuturi Global's cut-rose exports to the continent.

“Due to adverse climatic conditions during the Valentine season, about 40 per cent of our direct market sales have been affected,” said Mr Sai Ramakrishna Karuturi, managing director, Karuturi Global.

“During the first two months of this year, transporting the flowers to the European market was a big hurdle as major airports were shut and all logistics routes in the continent were closed or blocked due to heavy snowfall. With this, we were able to cover part of the shortfall through our long-term contracts with few European buyers,” he told Business Line.

LOST BUSINESS

Without quantifying the loss to the company, he said that it similarly lost part of the busy Valentine season business in 2010 due to volcano eruption in Iceland.

Adverse weather in major cities in Europe with temperatures touching minus 19-20 led to very few people venturing out impacting sales.

“Normally during the Valentine season, prices shoot up to as high as €0.50 but this year prices were soft at around €0.30-32 cents,” said Mr Ramakrishna Karuturi.

Karuturi Global has around 300 hectares under rose spread across India (Bangalore), Kenya and Ethiopia and produces 650 million stems a year.

Talking about company's cut-rose cultivation in Africa, he said: “Currently we are growing little more than half-a-billion stems from two countries (Kenya and Ethiopia) in the ratio of 45:55.”

AREA EXPANSION

“We are expanding the area under rose in Ethiopia which is around 100 hectares at present and maintain the present status of cultivation in Kenya. In Bangalore we have not expanded and is at around 10 hectares,” he added.

The company in 2009 forayed into agriculture and has so far got in possession 311,700 hectares of land in Gambela and Bako region in Ethiopia.

Mr Ramakrishna Karuturi said: “The Ethiopian Government allotted us 3,00,000 hectares at Gambela, which has river Baro as water source. Here, currently we have taken up 80,000 hectares for cultivating maize, rice, oil palm. In Bako, land allotted is 11,700 hectares, river Gibe is the water source and rice and maize is being grown on 10,000 hectares.”

anil.u@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on February 29, 2012)
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