Some flower prices in South Africa have shot up, partly because of the disruption wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic and the national lockdown.
The prices of roses and chrysanthemums have tripled while the prices of carnations and lilies have doubled, according to some industry players.
In March, local roses were selling at R4.50 [0.26 USD] a stem on the wholesale market. But rose prices had now shot up to between R8 and R12 [0.46-0.69 USD] a stem, price levels which were “unheard of”, says Ronnie Gross, owner of Alsmeer Fresh Cut Flowers. Alsmeer is a wholesaler that buys flowers on auction at the Johannesburg-based Multiflora Flower Market, the centre of the local flower trade. The company also buys flowers from local farmers and imports flowers from Colombia, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Holland, Kenya, Thailand, and Zimbabwe.
The national lockdown closed the local flower industry from March 27, and the government allowed it to reopen again on May 1. When the flower market opened in May, there was a limited supply of local roses because it was autumn and it was getting cold, Gross said.