After Dashain, Nepal is now gearing up for Tihar, one of its most popular festivals.
In view of the upcoming festival preparations, the Himalayan nation will be importing flowers and garlands worth Rs 110 million.
According to the Floriculture Association Nepal (FAN) President Kumar Kasaju, Nepal is importing around 300,000 garlands with different sorts of flowers from India for Tihar.
Close to NPR 160 million of flowers, flower garlands and vases are traded in the Kathmandu Valley during the first three days of Tihar. Flowers are imported from Bhaktapur’s Gundu, Kathmandu’s Ichangunarayan, Thankot and Nuvakot among others.
Kathmandu alone requires 1.5-1.7 million garlands for the fifth and most special day of the five-day festival called Bhaitika,.
Marigold & Makhamali (globe amarnath) flowers & garlands are widely sold and used during Tihar festival.
During Dashain, the sale of marigold garlands stands at around NPR 1 million per 300,000 units. Additionally, 300,000 units of Makhamali and 100,000 units of Marigold are imported in the Kathmandu Valley, with 30 percent of them from India.
Floriculture Scenario in Nepal
As per FAN, Nepali farmers have not yet developed a keen interest in floriculture owing to various reasons. Moreover, floriculture farmers in Nepal are still applying traditional farming practices.
FAN General Secretary Bishwamani Pokhrel opines that the import of flowers cannot be substituted until farmers understand that floriculture is not only a means of making a livelihood, but also a good source of income.
Floriculture formally began in 2011 BS with the establishment of Nepal Private Nursery and has expanded to 43 districts till date. The practice is conducted on 115 hectares of land in Nepal.
To promote floriculture in the country, Nepal Government had established the ‘Flower Promotion Policy 2069’. Additionally, in 2071-72 BS, the Government allocated a budget of NPR 10 million for floriculture. However, this fiscal year only NPR 1.6 million was allocated for the same.
The Demand & Supply Deficit
Nepali cut flowers including gerbera, gladiolus, Godawari, marigold and rose have a high demand in foreign countries such as The Netherlands, Thailand and USA among others.
However, the supply of flowers is less when compared to its high demand.