Flower farmers expect to lose over HK$1 million after fair ban

A flower farmer expected to suffer a loss of more than HK$1 million following the government ban on the traditional Lunar New Year fairs, as he called upon citizens to buy flowers from farms directly. Stringent social distancing measures have been extended for two weeks to February 3, the third day of the Lunar New Year, while large-scale festive activities are called off. 

Local flower farmer Yeung Siu-lung said in a radio program on Monday that he had originally rented eight stalls for the LNY fair at Victoria Park, for which he prepared 16,000 flowers. "The cancellation made me lose HK$1.6 million," he said. "But the pandemic is dangerous. I can only accept it."

The government will refund the full cost of stalls and pay stall runners half of their bidding prices as extra compensation. But the amount did not help much, as farmers have to incur expenses throughout the year, Yeung said. He also said many farmers are not familiar with online sales, and he asked citizens to support local flower farms by visiting them and buying flowers there directly. 

"I don't even dare to predict the economic losses brought to the florist by the fair ban," another florist Lee Wing-keung said. He had secured 14 stalls for the new year fairs at Victoria Park and Kwai Chung Sports Ground. Lee said he grows tens of thousands of flowers for the Lunar New Year each year, of which 60 percent to 70 percent are sold in wholesale market and another 10 percent at retail outlets. Thirty percent of stocks are sold at the Lunar New Year market. 

Read the complete article at www.thestandard.com.hk.

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