Nepal: Flower industry rebounds on festive celebrations

Demand for flowers has recovered to almost pre-coronavirus levels in the festival celebration mood as Nepal opened up after lockdowns. The floriculture sector had suffered a big blow due to the Covid-19 pandemic in the last two years, as the government banned all public gatherings, festivals, and official events. The demand for flowers used in religious ceremonies evaporated.

However, the Tihar festival that ended on Sunday proved to be a bonanza for the floral industry. Florists say that the business is back on its feet, faster than expected.

According to the Floriculture Association Nepal, the total flower trade during the four-day Tihar festival amounted to Rs152 million. The association said that 1.89 million marigold garlands worth Rs127 million were sold during Tihar. Similarly, 305,000 makhmali garlands worth Rs1.67 million, 15,000 godawari garlands worth Rs5.25 million and 100,000 makhmali garlands worth Rs3 million were sold.

“We met the sales target as expected,” said Min Bahadur Tamang, president of the association. “As there were no Covid restrictions and virus cases dropped significantly, the festival drove flower demand.”

He said that flowers were available at a cheaper rate from India, another factor that drove demand up. Due to Covid-19 during the last Tihar, around 1.6 million garlands were sold last year. As the country has become self-reliant for globe amaranth flowers, more than 100,000 garlands worth Rs3 million were exported to different countries, the association said.

Due to a decline in production in Nepal triggered by the unseasonal rainfall in October, the association had expected that 15% of the deficit would be fulfilled by imports, but traders said that there was a massive import from India and flowers were available at a cheaper rate.

“Traders who were not members of the floriculture association imported flowers from India half a month ago and kept them in cold storage,” according to the association. More than 30% of flower demand was fulfilled by imports, the association said.

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