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This Valentine’s day,cost is thorn in saying it with roses

With the Valentine’s Day just around the corner,saying it with roses may cost a good deal more than what the lovers bargained for this year.

The price of a rose stem that used to cost around Rs 14 last year is all set to touch Rs 18 come February 14

With the Valentine’s Day just around the corner,saying it with roses may cost a good deal more than what the lovers bargained for this year. The price of a rose stem that used to cost around Rs 14 last year may touch Rs 18 come February 14. But local farmers who sell in the domestic market will be lucky to get Rs 2-3 per stem,underlining the huge margins in the flower business. With the overall country production of roses taking a hit,an economic slowdown refusing to show signs of letting up and a 10 per cent slump in exports,things appear far from rosy for the floriculture sector.

According to the Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB),the net worth of roses produced this fiscal will be only Rs 289 crore,down by 15 per cent from Rs 340 crore in 2008-09. This alone has the makings of a rise in the price of the preferred flower of lovers,an officer pointed out.

The business of rose flower production had peaked in 2006-07,touching Rs 652 crore. This year 2008-09 will be by far the worst year in recent times.

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Pune which is next only to Bangalore in rose production in the country and has an approximate production of two lakh flowers per hectare has been worse off with only 1.8 lakh flowers blooming per hectare this year,he said.

Director of National Horticulture Board and president of flower growers association of Maharashtra,Megha Borse said the export scene looks dull. “There is a 10 per cent depression in the export market with just 8-10 million stems being made available for exports. The growers are adopting a wait and watch policy considering the slowdown. Nobody is willing to take any risk and although there is one shipment which has already been dispatched,the sub-zero temperatures in Europe may not lead to much demand,” she said.

While the growers for the export market will stand to get Rs 12 per stem,those producing flowers for the domestic market will get Rs 5 per stem,said Borse.

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“This is near about the same as last year,but with production being affected it will not help the farmers much,” she added. Dr Abhay Gaikwad,training officer of MSAMB,said that many farmers went off rose production this year and the climactic conditions too were not very suitable. “In January,itself the rise in temperatures saw a lot of crops being affected. We had to adopt various methods to prevent destruction. Shading and increasing moisture was adopted,” he said.

“The demand for roses in the retail market is not much this season and to offset this we are gearing ourselves to scale up production of carnation and gerbera,said Tukaram Shende,” a farmer engaged in floriculture in Pune.

First published on: 04-02-2009 at 01:41:36 am
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