October 18: The production of flowers and garlands for the upcoming Tihar festival is expected to decline compared to the last year. According to the Floriculture Association Nepal (FAN), the stakeholders are preparing to sell 1.5 million garlands this year, which is 300,000 less than last year.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the production of flowers has decreased this year as the floriculture farmers have shifted to vegetable farming. Marigold and globe amaranth (makhamali) flowers worth Rs 2.2 million are normally consumed every year in Nepal during Tihar. According to FAN, this year the production may be 700,000 less than the demand.
According to the president of FAN Kumar Kasaju Shrestha, the demand for garlands is expected to decline this year. “Around 1.5 million garlands are expected to be consumed, and we are preparing accordingly,” he said.
While 10,000 to 15,000 garlands were sold every day in Nepal during the normal days, statistics of the association shows that only 3,000 to 5,000 garlands are sold in a day now.
Last year in Tihar, marigold garlands were sold at Rs 55 to Rs 70 per piece. The association said that if the demand is like that of last year, the price is likely to increase.
Similarly, Sushil Khadka, coordinator of the Cut Flower Grower Committee, said that there would be no shortage of flowers during the festival even if the production is low. According to him, about 25 kg of seeds were distributed to the farmers in June to prevent shortage of flowers during the festival and to replace the import of Indian flowers.
As per the statistics of the association, floriculture is done in 43 districts of Nepal with a total investment of Rs 6 billion. This business has provided employment to more than 700 entrepreneurs and 40,000 people are directly or indirectly involved in this business.
However, due to the lockdown, 30 percent of the workers in the flower business have lost their jobs.