Valentine’s Day is here again and flower growers are jubilating. The day is expected to bring them some cheer, as they have been witnessing a lull in the sales since demonetisation hit the markets in November. While the marriage season in December did help pick up export, flower markets and growers are looking forward to better domestic and export shipments on Valentine’s Day.
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Shivaji Begade, Chairman of Pune District Flower Association, said exports had gone down 30 per cent during November and December but they are now picking up now.
The Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (ISFP), meanwhile, claim to have missed the first wedding season of November to demonetisation last year. However, the domestic flower markets picked up two months later, from mid-January.
“It usually picks up after November. But the sales are now looking better ahead of Valentine’s Day,” said Praveen Sharma, President of ISFP, Pune.
In 2015, India had exported 16.5 million stems during this season, whereas the figure came down to 14 million flower stems in 2016. This year, flower markets are aiming to cross 16 million flower stems.
Indian flower growers say they have faced one of the most difficult periods during this financial year. The season was supposed be a very profitable one, had it not been for demonetisation, said Sharma.
The dates of demonetisation coincided with the marriage season in November last year, which is usually the beginning of a high-sale season after a slow market during monsoon. The extended monsoon, between September and mid October last year, also played a role.
Begade said, “We export heavily to the Netherlands and the UK. However, with demonetisation, traders have been reluctant to give us good deals due to less demand in the market at the time of cash crunch.”
India’s major export shipments for Valentine’s Day head to UK, which shares 35 per cent of the Indian exports, followed by 19 per cent in Japan, 18 per cent in Australia, Malaysia, Singapore and Holland.
Valentine’s Day had had florists and horticulture experts anticipating huge sales. However, the price of these flowers, which are sold locally, would be lower than usual, said Ravindra Deshmukh, Manager at National Institute of Post Harvest Technology, Pune. “Even the most popular choice among flowers — red rose — which alone accounts for 80-90 per cent of the total sale of flowers, are being sold for Rs four-16 only. The total sale of roses has gone down by 20 per cent.”
Every year, there is five-10 per cent growth in sales during this season. Recent market survey has portrayed India’s Domestic Flower Market growth at 23 per cent CAGR. “The demand for flowers is increasing robustly in India. While exports remain a key motivator for cultivators, the domestic demand for flowers is also increasing exponentially, especially in the metros and larger cities. Modernisation and growing western cultural influences has driven consumers to buy flowers on a number of occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, marriages ,anniversaries, birthdays, friendship day, mother’s day, etc,” added Sharma.