The effect of the coronavirus is still felt heavily in the floriculture industry in Turkey.
Cut flower growers in Antalya had invited municipalities to purchase the flowers they were not able to export due to the coronavirus and use these flowers to decorate the city. However, their invitation was left without a response. Most of the growers in Antalya had to discard their flowers as waste.
But one grower announced in social media that they will distribute flowers for free in their greenhouse. Grower Abdulhamid Geli, who has a hectare production area in Antalya, decided to use flowers as a morale booster for people in these difficult times. Especially Russian citizens living in Antalya showed a lot of interest in this promotional campaign and visited the greenhouse. The visitors were able to take lots of photos to commemorate this day and also harvested flowers from the greenhouse. In total, 1,500 visitors came to the greenhouse in 3 days and a total of 2 million stems of flowers were distributed free of charge.
Abdulhamid Geli: “I decided to use flowers to bring a smile to people’s faces instead of throwing them as a waste. I had already sold 20% of my products, I have distributed 30% of my products for free and the remaining 50% I’m drying them out in the greenhouses to use their bulbs in the future.
Despite the decline in demand for floriculture products across Turkey, a wholesaler in Afyon reports that he has seen a significant increase in plant sales in recent weeks. The wholesaler notes that people are now forced to spend more time in their houses as a precaution against coronavirus and this created more interest in plants because people wanted to decorate their homes and balconies. A lot of people started to buy seeds, seedlings to grow their own plants and some purchased mature plants to create a more positive at their homes. Right now a customer could spend just 15 euros and decorate his balcony with 6-7 plants. The prices have been always around this level in recent years so it does not put any pressure on customer’s budgets due to its reasonable prices.
However, the positive reports about the impact of coronavirus on flower and plant demand are rare. The growers in Izmir are struggling mightily as coronavirus has caused the demand to hit rock bottom with many weddings, openings, celebrations, and events canceled. The majority of domestic and international orders are canceled and almost 70% of the products are thrown away as waste. The growers estimate a loss of nearly 150 million USD and underline that if the growers are not supported by the government during this difficult time, they might not be able to have enough capital to start production next season. Izmir is responsible for nearly half of Turkey’s cut flower production and about 10% of its exports. The growers are asking for tax cuts and tax exemptions for this year in addition to funding support for next season’s crop and seed purchases. Additionally, they seek low-interest loans from state banks and 1-year postponement of their outstanding loan debts to banks.