Maharashtra rose growers stare at losses up to Rs 60 lakh per day

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Recently in Netherlands and Denmark farmers dumped and destroyed tonnes of orchids for lack of exports and buyers. The orchid season of the Dutch countries is all but over, thanks to COVID-19. In India too, roses seem to have lost their charm and fragrance, at least for growers in Maval region of Maharashtra who are staring at losses due to nation-wide lockdown in the wake of the Covid- 19 outbreak.

The Valentine’s Day season is followed by another flush of roses in March and April months for the wedding season. “But the markets have been closed since the Covid-19 outbreak and we have not been able to address the domestic market. Rose growers are facing losses to the tune of Rs 50-60 lakh per day,” Shivajirao Bhegade, president, Pune District Flower Growers Association said to a financial Express correspondent.

Roses are grown in around 1,200 acres of poly houses in Maval region which yield 12-15 lakh flowers per day. For lack of their own cold storage, small growers are pruning the roses on a daily basis even if it means a loss. The current rose season has already been bad for the growers with extended monsoons followed by a spell of heat in January.

Due to the coronavirus outbreak , most events have been cancelled and this has led to a drop in demand for roses. The local markets include Delhi, Bhopal, Jaipur, Lucknow, Allahabad, Indore, Ahmadabad, Kanpur, Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chandigarh. India’s traditional export markets for roses include Europe, Dubai, Japan and UK.

The sunshine and temperatures play very important role in flower production, resulting in overall drop of production by 10 to 15% this year in Maharashtra. In 2017-18, India exported flowers worth Rs 57,66 crore followed by Rs 57.46 crore a year later. Last two years the exports were stable with shipments worth over Rs 57 crore , this year roses worth Rs 20 crore were exported till November 2019.

The area under rose cultivation in Maharashtra’s Maval (Talegaon)region- known for floriculture has gone upto 2,500 acres to 3,000 acres. This region accounts for nearly 70% of the total rose production in the country for the Valentine’s Day. Farmers generate almost 55% of the revenue between November and March. The five months starting from November till March accounts for 55% of the total production and 73% of total revenue.

Shekhar Ghosh is a communications consultant and and former journalist, who has edited and written for publications such as like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today and Outlook.

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