Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Thursday, Feb 03, 2005
Agri-Biz & Commodities
Horticulture/Fruits & Vegetables
Industry & Economy - Exports & Imports
Valentine's season may be mixed for flower exports
Bangalore Feb. 2
THE Valentine's season this year is likely to be a mixed bag for the Indian cut-flower exports.
Though exporters are bullish about the European market following a surge in orders, a section of them feel that sales in the Far-East, especially Singapore and Malaysia would be sluggish due to the prolonged holiday spell in these countries that's set to follow the Chinese New Year beginning February 9.
The export season for Indian cut flower growers for Valentine's is set to begin over the next few days.
"There are hardly any orders from Singapore, Malaysia or Taiwan," said an exporter. The Asia Pacific region, including Japan and Australia account for over 30 per cent of the Indian flower exports.
"Trend has been good this year and overall exports for Valentine's could be at last year's level of around 300 tonnes," said Mr Nadeem Ahmed, President of South India Floriculture Association.
However, the production could be lower by about 10 per cent because of some ageing plantations.
Mr Ahmad feels that the focus on Valentine's has been reducing as Indian growers have been exporting flowers round the year.
Majority of the exporters have entered into direct contracts, which means assured prices. However, the Indian growers are also facing increased competition from Africa, China among others.
"Europe is doing well," said Mr K.S. Ramakrishna, Managing Director of Karuturi Floritech. The company expects to ship over a million stems this season as compared to half a million last year.
Demand is mainly from Europe, West Asia and the US, he said. One million stems equals 45 tonnes. Karuturi, which is supplying to ASDA, has got orders from another super market chain Auchang for readymade bouquets, Mr Ramakrishna said.
"The market this year seems to be good, especially for exporters who have identified direct markets," said Mr K.V.L.N Raju, Managing Director, Nagarjuna Floritech. "Our order books are up 60 per cent over last year, which is a positive indication," he said. The company expects to ship over a million stems this year as compared to about 6 lakh last year.
The increase in flight connectivity from Bangalore to key markets has been a positive development of the industry. However, the growers feel that prices may not be that attractive this year because of the general market conditions. "Increase in volumes will offset the increasing input costs," Mr Raju said.
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