KATHMANDU, Oct 30: Nepal will be importing flowers and garlands worth around Rs 110 million for the upcoming Tihar festival.
According to Kumar Kasaju, President of Floriculture Association Nepal (FAN), it has been almost sure to bring about some 300 thousand garlands made up of various sorts of flowers from India for this Tihar as in the past years.
On the day of Bhaitika, the fifth and most special day of the five-day festival, Kathmandu alone needs around 1.5 to 1.7 million of garlands. The central capital is home to around five million people.
According to a data unveiled by the Department of Customs recently, Nepal has a negative balance of trade with 112 countries across the world and its gross trade deficit exceeds Rs 222.9 billion and consistent dependency on flowers at all times specially during festival has obviously contributed to the ballooning trade deficit.
Nepali farmers are yet to get attracted to floriculture due to various reasons, the FAN says. Similarly, a majority of farmers engaged in floriculture are still adopting the traditional ways of farming. Marigold and Makhamali (globe amaranth) flowers and garlands made of them are widely used during the Tihar festival.
FAN general secretary Bishwamani Pokhrel believes that flower import could not be substituted until it has been proved among farmers that floriculture is not only the means of subsistence but also the means of good income.
Cultivation of flowers is conducted on 115 hectares of land in Nepal. The floriculture that formally began in 2011 BS with the establishment of Nepal Private Nursery has been expanded to 43 districts to date.
The sales of flowers as marigold, Makhamali , and Godawari soar high during Tihar. The sales of a garland made up of marigold stand at around one million 300 thousand units while 300,000 units of Makhamali garlands and 100,000 units of marigold garlands in Kathmandu Valley during Dashain among which 30 per cent of them are imported from India.
Around Rs 160 million of flowers, flower garlands and vases is traded in Kathmandu Valley in three days of the Tihar festival. Flowers are imported to Kathmandy Valley from Gundu of Bhaktapur, Ichangunarayan of Kathmandu, Thankot, Sankhu, Kakani, Dhading, Nuwakot and Kavrepalanchok.
Government has implemented 'Flower Promotion Policy 2069' to promote floriculture in the country. Government had allocated Rs 10 million in the fiscal year 2071/72 to floriculture but this year the Ministry of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives of Province no 3 has only allocated Rs 1.6 million for the same.
The demand of flowers is on rise in the market. The supply is low in comparison to its demand. The demand of Nepali cut flowers such as marigold, rose, Godawari, Gladiolus, Gerbera among others are high abroad such as Netherlands, Thailand, the USA among others.
The floriculture sector has more than 5 billion of investment in Nepal while the global trading in flowers amounts USD 200 billion among which 80 per cent of the trading in flower is done by Netherlands alone. RSS