Bangladesh – Flower farming profitable business despite import difficulties
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Since flower cultivation for commercial purposes started in 1980 in Bangladesh, many Bengalis have supported their families in growing and selling flowers. Mr. Abdur Rahim, Chairman of the Bangladesh Flower Society, said that over 20,000 farmers across 25 districts in the country have taken up cultivating flowers as their source of income. Flower cultivation generated more than $174.5 million, a study conducted by the Flower Society shows. A daily worker farming flowers explained that Bangladesh has the right climate and soil for the cultivation of all types of flowers; the problem, however, is that importing seeds from abroad constitutes a financial burden on farmers. He said that if seeds were to be grown in Bangladesh, the costs would be been much lower, adding that cultivating flowers like lilies and tulips is highly profitable.
(Soundbite): Ismail Hossain, who successfully cultivated tulip in January 2022:
“I started harvesting tulip bulbs on January 1st this year. The land was previously fertilized and injected with other organic ingredients. On January 6th, I planted tulip bulbs. In 18 days of putting the seed, I started seeing buds, and in 22 days, the buds blossomed. Out of the seven varieties, six blossomed successfully. One variety faced issues. In 24 days, all flowers were packed and marketed.”
(Soundbite): Mr. Abdur Rahim, Chairman of the Bangladesh Flower Society:
“In Bangladesh, flower cultivation for commercial purposes started in 1980. Now, in 25 districts 20,000 farmers cultivate different types of flowers on over 6,000 hectares of land. According to a market analysis report conducted by us, in the 2019-20 fiscal year, Bangladesh’s flower farming generated about BDT 1-1.5 billion per year[up to $174.5 million]. From this area alone, we sell flowers to all over the country at a value of almost BDT 40-50 million per year [$50 million].”
(Soundbite): Abul Kalam, a daily laborer working in different flower gardens
“I have been working in this area here for almost 8-10 years. I work from 7:00 am to 12:30 pm and 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Our daily wage is BDT 450/day [$5.25]. We have few people who only do flower plucking.”
“In 2011, I started cultivating Gerbera. An NGO gave me 69 lily bulbs, and I sold BDT 5,200 [$60.5] worth of lily flowers at that time. That was very encouraging for all of the farmers, and everybody started Lily cultivation. In 2022, my nephew Ismail started cultivating tulips. I am glad and excited to see the outcome. But in Bangladesh, the main problem is seed collection. There is not a flower in the world that could not have been planted in Bangladesh. But importing seeds from abroad costs a lot. See the Chinese rose in my garden, I had to buy it per piece of plant with Tk70 [$.80] plus the import fees. The same goes for the lilies. I had to buy them per piece at Tk 220 [$2.5]; tulips for Tk 220 [$2.5]. If we could have grown them in Bangladesh, they would have been much cheaper. Planting of both lilies and tulips is very nice and profitable.”
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