Flower business at Jhikargacha booming
A Correspondent Benapole (Jessore): Flower farmers and traders at Godkhali in Jhikargacha upazila of Jessore district are passing a busy time as their sale has got a boost ahead of the New Year’s Day. The sale of flowers and ornamental plants from Godkhali on the occasion of the last New Year’s Day stood around Tk 2 crore and the sale this time is likely to exceed the mark as the demand is there and the production will also be able to catch up with the need for timely supply, according to traders at Godakhali flower wholesale market. Set alongside the Jessore-Benapole road, some 18 kilometers west of the district town, Godkhali flower wholesale market is the country’s largest, trading the flower cornucopia from the entire district, which accounts for about 70 percent of the total flower production in the country. At least 3,500 farmers around Gadkhali earn their livelihood by cultivating flowers -- mostly roses, gladiolus and marigold. Abdur Rahim, a leader of Godkhali Flower Farmers and Traders’ Welfare Association, and also a leader of Bangladesh Flower Society, told that flowers wroth around Tk 54 crore are annually being produced in the area. The cost of the flowers at the consumer end reaches to more than Tk 100 crore. Although there is a great potential for earning foreign currency through the export of flowers and ornamental plants in the international market, the country is lagging behind in formal initiatives to capture the market, he said adding that some traders are exporting flowers abroad in the name of exporting vegetables. Sher Ali Sardar, one of the promoters of commercial flower cultivation in the area, stressed government initiatives for promoting the flower export. As flower farming is capital intensive one and largely depends on knowledge and technology, the sector will not be able to develop much without solid government support, he observed. The Department of Agricultural Extension is yet to take much notice of the flower farming in the area, he said. Sher Ali also noted that the flower farmers are facing various crisis, including high interest rate of the non-government organizations (NGOs) and the lack of specialized cold storages for flowers in the country.