Human Flower Project

Cut-Flower Trade

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Floods Cause Flower Shortage in India

Flower growers in Midnapore protest corruption in government supports; prices triple before big community festival.


Devi Durga

Photo: Sword of Truth

Heavy rains over the past three months have washed out the crops of flower farmers in Midnapore.

The flower shortage coincides with one of India’s busiest flower-buying seasons.  According to today’s edition of the Statesman (Kollata, India),  the Durga puja, a four-day celebration of Devi Durga began yesterday. Durga is one of Hinduism’s supreme Mother Goddesses, whose purity inspires humanity to shed its egoism and follow a life of sacrifice.

In the Ramayana, Lord Rama takes an army of monkeys to rescue his abducted wife from a ten-headed demon. Before his final battle, he seeks Devi Durga’s blessing.

“He was given to understand that the Goddess would be pleased only if she was           worshipped with one hundred Blue Lotuses. After travelling and searching the whole world, Lord ‘Rama’ gathered only ninety-nine Blue Lotuses. So he finally decided to offer one of his eyes,          which resembled Blue Lotuses. Durga, being pleased with the devotion of ‘Rama’, appeared and blessed him ....


“The fierce and decisive battle started on the day of ‘Saptami’ and Ravana was finally defeated and killed.’”

Saptami is being observed today, with community celebrations and home pujas (rituals). Both types of rites involves large quantities of flowers.

The Statesman reports, “Today 100 single pieces of lotuses sell at Rs 300 against Rs 100 last year,” and most other flower prices have at least doubled.

Many devastated flower farmers in the region have been unable to get the loans they need to recover. This is the second natural disaster for Midnapore farmers in 12 months. The Indian government released emergency funds to help after last year’s calamity but, the Statesman reports, most of those funds were diverted to “fictitious floriculturists.” Leaders in the agricultural region have taken charges of corruption and demands for compensation to the state horticulture minister.

Posted by Julie on 10/20 at 12:38 PM
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Thursday, October 14, 2004

World Flowers—Conquistadors of the Supermarket

Two U.K. flower companies merge to become one of Europe’s biggest suppliers.

An article in today’s This is Basingstoke (U.K.) announces that World Flowers and SGP, breeders and suppliers of cut flowers, have joined forces. The two British companies churn out the U.K.s four most popular varieties—lilies, carnations, chrysanthemums, and roses—and sell primarily to supermarkets. Liz Woodford’s article says that World Flowers alone delivers “more than a billion flowers a year to its UK customers.”

A prime example of how globalization and consolidation go hand in hand in today’s economy, World Market imports flowers from Kenya, and SGP is linked to both Japanese and Anglo-Dutch breeders of chysanthemums.

The new company boasts “‘seed to sale’ control” of the retail flower market. And World Market’s sales director, Sarah Mills, advocates suit-ya-seff flower-giving, calling fresh flowers “a low-fat treat.”

“We now treat ourselves rather than wait for someone to treat us,” Mills said. It’s a far cry from Eliza Doolittle and her tender bunches of violets. Go for the gross, Old Chaps!

Posted by Julie on 10/14 at 04:08 PM
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Thursday, October 07, 2004

Oil Spill on Flower Prices

Higher fuel prices will mean costlier flowers, says a New Jersey newspaper.

Cut-flower shoppers may detect a whiff of gas fumes on their bouquets in coming months. The Bergen County (NJ) Record reports today how higher fuel costs will be passed on to flower purchasers. Imported flowers make up most cut flower sales in the U.S. According to one Clifton, NJ, wholesaler, “Fuel surcharges by the airlines are around 15 percent of the original negotiated cost.” Guess what, those costs are passed on to you when you buy a dozen gladioli or sweetheart roses.

The same wholesaler told the North Jersey paper that while he can negotiate to lower some transportation costs, there’s no wiggling out of the airline surcharges. The story goes on to say, “truckers are raising prices to get flowers here from the West Coast, based on the average cost of diesel fuel, which has increased more than 37 percent in the past year.”

Hey, New Jersey, aren’t you The Garden State? It’s time to revive that motto from the ‘70s: Grow Your Own.

Posted by Julie on 10/07 at 01:51 PM
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Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Vietnamese Town Capitalizes on “Eternal Spring”

A city in Vietnam’s central highlands plans to open an international flower auction next year, another development in its longstanding romance-for-profit.

Beauty sells itself. Just ask anyone in the travel business who’s booked trips to Sevilla but not Malaga, Niagra Falls not Buffalo.

Just so, the city of Da Lat located 300 km from Ho Chi Minh City has long been a favorite destination of travelers in Vietnam. “Dotted with waterfalls, lakes and evergreen forests, (Da Lat) is often called the City of Eternal Spring and is a favourite spot for honeymoons.”

Asia Pulse reports today that Da Lat plans to build an international flower auction by next year, taking advantage of its year-round temperate climate and adding a pretty business to its architectural and natural attractions. Eco-tourism, it’s not just for Westerners, never has been.

Chinese flower growers and sellers have advanced this year, with exports up 15% in the period January-July, according to today’s Xinhua. And Asia Pulse reports: “Da Lat has recently sent officials to China to learn about organising flower shows.”

Posted by Julie on 09/21 at 10:10 AM
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