KATHMANDU, Sept 23: Transaction of fresh flowers went up by around 50 percent in the fiscal year 2011/12.
The Floriculture Association-Nepal (FAN), an umbrella organization of flower producers and traders, stated that transaction of flowers in the domestic market stood at Rs 900 million during the fiscal year 2011/12 as compared to Rs 600 million a year earlier.
"Sales went up last fiscal year as demand and supply of flowers grew significantly," said Lok Nath Gaire, president of FAN.
Land allocated for flower plantation went up by 50 percent in the last fiscal year to 120 hectors, as against 80 hectors in 2010/11. This raised the supply of flowers.
At the same time, demand for fresh flowers also went up in the local market last fiscal year as more households started using the flowers for different occasions.
Increasing domestic production has been gradually dragging down flower imports. FAN´s data shows that imports of cut-flowers contributed to around 20 percent of the total domestic demand for such flowers, which is five percentage points less than that of earlier year.
"However, 60 percent of the total ornamental flowers available in the market are imported," said Gaire. In the fiscal year 2010/11, imported ornamental flowers covered around 70 percent of the domestic demand.
Mostly two types of flowers -- cut-flowers and ornamental flowers -- are popular in the local market.
Gladiolus, rose, carnation, gerbera, orchid and marigold fall under the cut flower category, whereas ornamental flowers such as rubber plant, pine trees and cactus are used for decoration purpose.
Floriculture experts say that around 60 districts in the country hold the potential for flower farming. But currently only Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Dhading, Nuwakot, Chitwan and Makwanpur districts are commercially producing flowers.
Currently, a total of 56 retailers and four wholesalers are trading flowers in the capital. With the increasing commercialization of floricultures, flower producers are also earning hefty amount.
"I am earning around Rs 50,000 per month from floriculture, which is far higher than Rs 30,000 which I used to earn while working in the overseas job market," said Nani Ram Raut, a flower producer from Kavre district. Raut is producing carnation and gerbera in 4.5 ropanies of land.