Agri Business

As export markets wilt, roses look to bloom on home turf

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on February 12, 2021

Trade sees a pick-up in domestic demand this Valentines season

As flight connectivity to the UK and Europe, key markets for Indian roses, remains disrupted on account of Covid, the growers are forced to rely on the domestic market this Valentine’s season.

Valentines is the main season for the rose growers and shipments this year, so far, are only a third of the normal on muted demand.

“We have seen only 30-40 per cent of the normal demand for the season as small exports are taking place to countries such as Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Dubai. However, there are no exports taking place to Europe, our main market, due to the Covid lockdown” said Shrikant Bollapally, President, Growers Flower Council of India, a growers’ body.

Europe accounts for over 40 per cent of India’s floriculture exports.

Freight rates jump

In addition to weak overseas demand, the rise in freight rates – which have more than doubled when compared to the pre-Covid period are adding to the challenges of cut flower growers.

“As a result, we are looking at the domestic market for the support and there’s demand coming across all major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai, Jaipur among others where flowers are being sent,” Bollapally, also a director of the South India Floriculture Association, said.

Bulk of the production of the cut flowers in greenhouses happens in and around Bengaluru, Hosur and Pune among other places in the country. For the growers, who faced a muted Christmas and New Year’s season, the domestic demand is providing some respite.

“We are expecting a 50 per cent fall in exports this Valentines,” said Praveen Sharma, President, Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals in Pune.

Home consumption

“Luckily, the domestic demand has increased thanks to the reduction in Covid cases and opening up of schools and offices. In fact, there will be a lesser supply from the Western Part of India as some of the big projects have paused production due to Covid lockdown. That’s going to reduce the volumes in the market and demand is going to be huge. That will help fetch better price, which we are already witnessing,” Sharma said.

Growers are expecting a price of ₹350-400 per bunch of 20 roses, as against an export realisation of ₹40-45 during the Valentine’s Season, Sharma said adding that the domestic market is seen giving a support.

Floriculture exports during April-December were down by 4 per cent at $55 million or ₹406 crore over same period last year. In volume terms, the shipments for the period were lower at 11,422 tonnes (13,279 tonnes). During 2019-20, total floriculture exports stood at $75.90 million.

Published on February 11, 2021

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