* Rose farmers say their earnings are low, profits earned by retailers
By Shabbir Sarwar
LAHORE: With the increasing trend of using flowers in the elite and upper middle class of the city, Lahoris use over one million roses and other flowers as well as 25,000 kilogrammes of rose petals every day for various purposes including, decoration at weddings, parties as well as to perform rituals on funerals, Daily Times learnt on Monday.
The flowers come to Lahore city retailers from various areas including Pattoki, Chonian, and Gujranwala. The middle class’ main focus remains on the rose and petals used in making bouquets, decoration of stages and tables and other purposes as well on flower petals to shower on guests. However, the upper class of the society takes interest in various imported flowers. Blossom Flower Shop, Mini Market, owner Hafiz Ammar told Daily Times that he imported flower varieties of Lily, Deco flower, Carnation, Gypsophila, Orchid, Ampharium and Charysanphemun from Holland, Kenya, and Saudi Arabia besides getting Glads, Tuberoses and local roses, said his daily sale was around Rs 20,000 and there was tough competition in the flower retail market. Pattoki Flowers Association office-bearer Muhammad Javed said that about 1500,000 roses and over 6,000 kilogrammes rose petals are sent to Lahore on daily basis from the Pattoki flower market.
Kisan Flowers Centre owner Tariq Ismael said that there were 12 flower brokers in Chonian and on average a thousand roses stick flowers of various forms came to each broker every day, which were later sent to Lahore.
Less is paid to the rose farmers, whereas the shopkeepers and brokers earn high profits in this business. “Now a days the market is low and brokers purchase flowers from farmers for Rs 80 per 100 flower. The shopkeepers in Lahore sell these flowers at very high rates,” Tariq said. About rose petals; he said three to four vans carrying 12,000 kg petals are sent to Lahore, which are used for various purposes. He said farmers sell petals for Rs 40-50 per kilograms while in the city, these are sold at double prices, again farmers get the least out of their hard work.
Chaudhry Riaz Hussain, who has been farming roses for the last 10 years, said that he finally had decided to stop cultivating flowers from the next year because of extremely low earnings. “We work hard and finally the main profit goes to the brokers and the retailers. They (retailers and brokers) know that we can’t sell this product ourselves and we have to rely on them to market this crop, taking advantage of this weakness they exploit us and purchase the crop at lower rates. Due to such exploitation, I have finally decided not to cultivate flowers and instead cultivate maize and turmeric from the next season,” Riaz said.
Rs 40 trillion worth of flowers are exported all over the world and Holland, followed by Colombia 14 percent, Kenya 5 percent, Spain 2 percent whereas India exports flowers worth Rs 4 billion. The total flower exports of Pakistan are around Rs 35 million, while Pakistan also imports flowers.