Floriculture farmers suffer Rs 100-crore loss due to Covid-19 lockdown

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February 19, 2021 12:30 AM

“Out of the 55 wedding muhurats in 2020, 23 muhurats alone fell in March, April and May, which were among the worst affected periods,” he said.

India has an estimated 2,000 acre of cut flower growing area under protected cultivation, with a daily production of 30-40 lakh stems, according to the Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (ISFP).India has an estimated 2,000 acre of cut flower growing area under protected cultivation, with a daily production of 30-40 lakh stems, according to the Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (ISFP).

Floriculture farmers have suffered losses worth Rs 100 crore due to the lockdown and are still finding it difficult to export flowers due to increased freight charges.

India has an estimated 2,000 acre of cut flower growing area under protected cultivation, with a daily production of 30-40 lakh stems, according to the Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (ISFP). Praveen Sharma, president of the society, said that the export markets have completely crashed with the cancellation of weddings hitting flower growers hard.

“Out of the 55 wedding muhurats in 2020, 23 muhurats alone fell in March, April and May, which were among the worst affected periods,” he said.

Sharma said that farmers plan their production keeping in view the summer weddings. In the absence of these weddings, which account for almost 40% of entire year’s wedding muhurats, farmers are going to find it tough, he said. To run a cut flowers farm, on an average, farmers incur average monthly expenses of Rs 1-1.25 lakh per acre. However, during the lockdown there was no revenue, but the cost to be incurred remained the same.

Najeeb Ahemad, president, South Indian Floriculture Association (SIFA), said that floriculture, like any other industry, had been hit hard by the lockdown. The Indian cut flower business is miniscule compared to international giants like Ecuador and Colombia where they have thousands of acres of farms, he said. There was no business from March 2020 till October 2020 and although business began picking up after October, the high freight rates made it uneconomical for Indian flower growers to export flowers, he said. This business is heavily dependent on labour and reverse migration of labour has hit crop maintenance, Ahemad said.

“Meeting operational expenses remains a big challenge; many of the growers may find it difficult to survive. If this continues, it may affect the quantity and quality of production for next 3 months, as the plants need daily care,” Sharma said.

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