NZ: "Daffodil Day disaster for grower as flowers left unpicked"

A major supplier of cut daffodils for the Cancer Society Daffodil Day fundraiser says lockdown has come in what would normally be the biggest week of sales for the year. Daffodil Day was due to take place this Friday, but has been cancelled due to the extension of level 4 lockdown. Grower John Chamberlain​ said it would mean the loss of 50 acres of daffodils and about half of his yearly turnover from flowers. Flowers were considered non-essential under current Government rules, so they could not be sold into supermarkets either, he said.

Photo by John Chamberlain / 

“They’ve thrown flower growers under the bus. They let liquor stores sell alcohol but flower growers can’t do anything. They’ve had 12 months to prepare for this and they actually haven’t worked it out.
”We’ve lost a whole year’s work with this lockdown. It’s not like a normal business where you shut for two week and carry on as normal.” Earlier this year, the farm in Springston was hit hard by the Canterbury floods. About 150 acres of grass to fatten cattle went underwater, Chamberlain said.

Economists Brad Olsen and Gareth Kiernan join Stuff Business Editor Susan Edmunds to talk about what level 4 lockdown means for the economy. United Flower Growers marketing manager Rebecca Jones​ said any time of year would be hard for growers because flowers were seasonal crops but the cancellation of Daffodil Day was a big issue because many growers put bulbs in the ground specifically for the event. “A lot of South Island growers are impacted by that.” The wider industry had been affected badly too, she said.

UFG had an auction scheduled for Wednesday, and had hundreds of thousands of stems from suppliers. ”We offered to give them back to the growers and some collected them but most of them are too far away and have shipped them in. What does a grower do then?”

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