Despite huge potential, commercial farming of flowers is not proving to be a good business due to lack of required facilities. On the sidelines of the just-concluded Flower Fest 2017, president of the Bangladesh Flower Society (BFS), Abdur Rahim, said the floral sector of the country is facing a lot of challenges. “The sector has no permanent wholesale market in Dhaka. It also faces lack of improved technologies. Flower farmers lack access to low cost loans like other farmers,” said Abdur Rahim. The BFS president also said that commercial farming of flowers began in the country in 1983 on 30-decimal of land in Gadkhali of Zikargachha Upazila in Jessore, now known as the ‘flower capital of Bangladesh’. Currently, flowers are grown on nearly 1,200 acres of land in 24 districts. At least two million people are involved in the production, distribution and selling of flowers. “But flower farming as a business is not thriving due to many problems. We cannot even preserve our flowers due to lack of logistical support, though production increases day by day,” said Abdur Rahim. Asian countries such as India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan compete in the USD20-billion flower market worldwide. Bangladesh has huge possibilities to be a player in this market. Abdur Rahim informed that a market research firm has recommended in their report on the flower industry that the Agriculture Ministry can train some officials abroad to provide improved services to farmers.The report also suggested the government can establish a permanent market in Bangladesh and issue loans on relaxed conditions to develop the sector. Alongside, government will have to impose high duties on flower imports. These measures can contribute a lot to encouraging the local industry. Participants at this year’s Flower Fest said that flowers worth BDT8.50 billion are sold in the country every year. Daily sales may touch BDT150- 200 million on special occasions like 21st February, Valentine’s Day, Pohela Boishakh, etc., in the capital alone, with countrywide sales of up to BDT500-600 million. “Normally we sell white roses at BDT100 per piece, but on special days it is sold at almost BDT1,000 per piece,” said Alamgir, who sells flowers at Shahbagh. BFS president Abdur Rahim said that at this stage, modernization is ‘a must’ to develop the industry. For its part, the government has taken a decision to establish a permanent wholesale market in Dhaka, while it is still deciding over setting up an institute in Jessore, where it all began.