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Nepal domestic production to meet flower demand

A farmer carries freshly harvested cucumbers in a bamboo basket at a farm in Bhaktapur. POST PHOTO: KABIN ADHIKARI. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KATHMANDU, Nov 9, 2020, The Himalayan Times. In previous years the country used to import thousands of flower garlands to meet the demand for the same during Tihar. However, domestic production is expected to fulfil the requirement this year. The rise in domestic production and also a possible decline in demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to contribute to the country not having to import flowers in Tihar this year, The Himalayan Times reported.

According to Kumar Kasaju Shrestha, president of the Floriculture Association Nepal, domestic production will suffice to meet the market demand for flowers and garlands this Tihar because many people are still scared of travelling and demand will be tepid due to the pandemic. “So, we will not have to import flowers this Tihar like in the previous years,” he added.

He informed that in the upcoming Tihar there will be demand for about 1.5 million units of garlands — 1.2 million units of marigold garlands (Sayapatri) and 300,000 units of globe amaranth (Makhamali) garlands. Last year, floriculture entrepreneurs had sold around 2.5 million units of garlands, of which about 300,000 units were imported from India.

As per Shrestha, consumers will be able to purchase marigold garlands at Rs 60 to Rs 70 per unit and globe amaranth garlands at Rs 30 to Rs 50 a unit while farmers will get Rs 40 to Rs 45 for each unit of marigold garland and Rs 20 to Rs 25 for each unit of globe amaranth garland.

At present, marigold flowers are being cultivated commercially in around 157 hectares of land in 32 districts across the country.

Districts such as Chitwan, Makawanpur and Sindhuli have the highest production of marigold flowers whereas Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur also produce the flower in significant numbers.

Commercial marigold farming has also been started in districts like Dhading, Nuwakot, Kailali, Rupandehi, Jajarkot, Doti, Dipayal and Surkhet.

“Many people have started commercial farming of marigold in Nepal these days due to its whopping demand in urban markets and the satisfactory returns,” Shrestha mentioned.

Meanwhile, globe amaranth flowers are mainly grown in rural parts of Bhaktapur, Kathmandu and Lalitpur districts.

“People have started cultivating this flower in the eastern parts of the country too including Palpa,” he informed.

There are over 700 entrepreneurs actively engaged in the floriculture industry of the country at the moment and there are around 43,000 farmers directly involved in growing flowers.

Although Nepal had been dependent on imports for marigold flowers, it has been self-reliant in globe amaranth flowers. In fact, the country has been exporting globe amaranth garlands abroad where Nepalis reside and celebrate Bhai Tika. As per Shrestha, the country had exported 200,000 units of globe amaranth garlands to various countries last year. “However, demand has not been confirmed yet this year,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Godavari Flower Exhibition, which is organised in between Dashain and Tihar every year, will not be held this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, as per Shrestha.

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