KATHMANDU, Feb 13: Local florists are bringing 150,000 long stem red roses worth around Rs 10 million from India for Valentine's Day.
Floriculture Association Nepal (FAN) estimates the demand for rose stems at around 200,000. Local producers will supply the remaining 50,000 stems, officials of FAN say.
Though various nurseries are growing red roses, local production cannot meet the demand anytime soon, according to florist. There are 675 floriculture nurseries in 41 districts including Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Bhaktapur, Kaski, Chitwan, Makawanpur, Palpa, and Gulmi.
Nepali florists generally import flowers from Indian cities like New Delhi, Pune, Kolkata and Bangalore.
"Rose stem will sell for Rs 80-100 this year. The wholesale price is Rs 40 per unit," added Tamang.
Rose stem was priced between Rs 50 and Rs 100 per unit, depending on quality, last year.
"Though wholesale price is Rs 40 per unit, retail price will be in Rs 80-100 range. The price depends on quality of flower and freshness,” Bishwamani Pokhrel, general secretary of FAN, told Republica.
Officials of FAN estimates roses worth Rs 200 million are traded in the country annually. Of the total demand, around 60% is from the Kathmandu Valley.
Although celebrating Valentine's Day is a western culture, it has become a fad in the country in recent years. The day falls on February 14, but celebrations start a week ago in the name of rose day, kiss day and chocolate day, among others.
The demand for rose stems, however, has not grown significantly. Traders say the demand is not growing as some people choose to buy plastic rose and other gift items instead as rose is perishable.
Shyam Malla, the owner of Hattisar-based New Lucky Fresh Flowers and Gifts Shop, says business is not much exciting this year. "We have ordered around 25,000 red rose stems. But sales have been affected in recent years as even groceries and paan stalls are selling rose stems," he added.