KATHMANDU, Nov 9: At a time when prices of essential commodities, sweets and dry fruits have been rising, flower traders have tried to console people by saying that price of flowers - the much needed item for Tihar festival - will not go up this year.
“Thanks to increasing domestic production, we are almost self-sufficient on flowers this Tihar,” said Lok Nath Gaire, president of Floriculture Association of Nepal (FAN).
According to the association, domestic production will meet almost 90 percent of the demand this Tihar. “The price of flower will not increase this Tihar as our imports this year will be significantly lower compared to past years,” Gaire said.
People decorate their houses during Tihar to attract deities that are believed to be active in the atmosphere during festive seasons and flowers are in the top list to decorate the houses. It is because of this belief that demand for flowers increases manifold during Tihar.
“We expect total transactions of flowers to hit around Rs 20 million this Tihar. Marigolds worth Rs 1.2 million is expected to be consumed during the five-day festival,” Dilip Bade, general secretary of FAN, said. “The demand for Chrysanthemum (Godawari) and Globe Amaranth (Makhamali) will also be high during the festival.”
FAN estimates that the demand for marigold this year will hover above 700,000 garlands, which is almost double than last year´s demand of 350,000 to 400,000 garlands. According to the association, around 100,000 marigold garlands will be imported from India while the rest will be supplied by domestic farms.
The demand for Chrysanthemum and Globe Amaranth, however, will be met by domestic production itself.
“Unlike past years, we do not have to depend on imports to fulfill demand for flowers for Tihar as total flower-cultivated area has increased tom 120 hectares this year compared to last year´s 110 hectares,” said Bade.
According to the association, a marigold garland will cost around Rs 20-Rs 50 depending on the size. Similarly, a garland of Globe Amaranth will cost around Rs 25-Rs 50 - the same as last year.
Commercial flower cultivation is done in 36 districts of Nepal. Florists source flowers from districts like Kavre, Dhading, Sindhupalchowk, Rautahat and Rasuwa as well as farms in the outskirts of the capital.
Imported flowers mostly come from Indian cities like Kolkata and Siliguri.