Rose exports from India are expected to show record high in the season around Valentine’s Day this year with the Taj Mahal stem emerging as the preferred flower for exporters.
Exporters have already begun shipping the rose stems to Europe, West Asia and Australia a week ahead of the Valentine’s Day and would send more during this week. The increased orders for exports comes at a time when the flower growers were struggling with slow domestic sales due to demonetisation. Last year, Valentine’s Day fell on a weekend dampening exports from India.
More than 5 million rose stems are expected to be exported this year between February 4 and February 14 and most sought after variety is Taj Mahal (red rose) costing between Rs 12 to Rs 16 per stem.
“This year 95 per cent of the roses that are being exported are the Taj Mahal variety,” said Jayprakash Rao, general secretary, South India Floriculture Association. The Taj Mahal variety is deep red in colour and grown around Bengaluru and Krishnagiri, the border district in Tamil Nadu.
The southern states account for majority of rose exports from the country.
“Valentine’s Day is mainly celebrated in offices, schools and colleges. Since it was a Sunday last year the demand had gone down. However, this year we see the demand coming back to normal. While the cost per stem remains the same as last year the volumes are much higher. Last year was the worst year for exports during Valentine’s’ season. “said Yogesh N, partner at Red Blossom.
Red Blossom expects exports to grow six times to 3 lakh stems this year as against 50,000 last year as demand picks up from customers across the globe.
Pawan K Kumar, head of Borgiun Flora said that along with the fact that Valentines Day was on a Sunday last year ,the Chinese New Year also affected the exports.
“Most of the small florists outside are Chinese, since the Chinese New Year was nearby they all went back to their country for a month this significantly resulted in drops in export. However, this year business has picked up. There is already a good traction and expected to grow further by Tuesday, “added Kumar.
Kumar this year is expecting to export close to 2 lakh rose Valentine’s Day stems to Australia, Newzealand, Malaysia and Singapore. While the his cost range between Rs 10 to Rs 16. Every year India export around 14 million flower stems of various variety and the flower export market of India is worth Rs 40 to 55 crore.
Along with exporting rose stems outside the country, Bengaluru also sees a huge traction from various states in the country during the Valentine’s season. This year the domestic market has increased by 8 to 10 per cent as compared to last year.
“Around 40 to 50 lakh rose stems will be sent to various states in the country. Last year, the conditions were not very favourable for the roses. However, this year the weather has been good giving a good yield. Even in India the Taj Mahal variety is most sought after and considering Valentine’s day is on Tuesday, there is a good demand from college and school students,” said Vijay Kulkarni, General Manager, International Flower Auction Bangalore Limited.
Demonetisation has hit domestic flower sales badly due to non-availability of cash with consumers. Sales were 70-80% lower during initial few weeks of demonetisation. Business sentiment, however, improved gradually with liquidity easing. Still, overall flower demand from domestic market continued to remain muted this season despite ongoing wedding season.
Demand has also been muted from overseas markets this Valentine’s Day. While volume is unlikely to get impacted, realisation for Indian exporters would certainly decline due to a sharp appreciation in the euro against the dollar. Euro zone is India’s one of the largest importers of floriculture. Euro has appreciated by around 5% since September to trade currently at Rs 71.91 against the rupee as against Rs 75 in September.