Flower is universal in its appeal to human senses. People have been using flowers to express their emotions for ages. Many poets, writers, artists, and musicians have used flowers as the symbol of love and purity in their works. Whether it is national events such as Pahela Falgun (the first day of spring), Valentine's Day or International Mother Language Day, or personal events like wedding, birthday, etc., flower is an integral part of all celebrations and observances. With the magnitude of celebrations expanding in our country, the demand for flower is rising day by day. As a result, the cultivation of flowers, known as floriculture, is rapidly growing as well.
According to experts, Bangladesh has a lot of possibilities in the booming flower business. As per Bangladesh Flower Society's estimate, currently 24 districts are commercially cultivating flower, covering over 12,000 acres of land. Approximately 2 million people are involved in floriculture directly and indirectly. Despite the surge in demand, the farmers and businessmen are not making the profits they deserve. There is no permanent wholesale market in Dhaka to cater to the countrywide demand for flowers. While there are two wholesale markets in Shahbag and Agargaon areas in the capital, none of those are permanent. Moreover, flowers worth millions of taka often get spoiled due to the absence of storage facilities. The flower sector in Bangladesh is facing various obstacles. According to agriculturalists, the main problem in this sector is the lack of experienced agricultural officers with specialized knowledge in floriculture. Flower cultivation in the country is largely based on intuition, which often leads to massive financial losses. Use of sophisticated instruments and machinery is essential for profitable cultivation. Besides, little knowledge about flower preservation, the absence of cold storage/cold chain to transport or preserve fresh flowers, unavailability of adequate industrial loans, poor knowledge about flower export, etc., are hindering growth in this sector.
Many Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, etc., are delving into the USD20-billion global flower business. Bangladesh has all the potential to be a part of this lucrative global business and earn a sustainable profit. An international organization that conducts research on floriculture made some recommendations for flower business in Bangladesh in their latest report. According to the report, the agriculture ministry should facilitate foreign training to local farmers. Besides, establishment of permanent wholesale markets, lowinterest loans to the farmers, and raising the tax on imported flowers have been recommended in the report as well.