quintuples flower sales
Local production reaches $15 million per year
Valentine’s Day is a boost to the market, as it comes in the middle of the slow winter season. Flower shops rely on this week as this product tops the list of Valentine’s Day gifts.
Flower wholesalers have prepared themselves for this occasion, importing up to 800,000 red roses to meet demand. Traders generally import around 150,000 flowers per week. Red roses are imported from the Netherlands, India, Kenya, and Ecuador.
Imad Haddad, General Manager of Bonsai, a local producer, importer and wholesaler, said: “Activity this month is more than five times than of January.” However, it is lower by around 30 percent from February of last year. He said that flower retailers are more cautious, requesting smaller volumes to avoid a potential oversupply.
Prices of imported red roses double during this week, on the international market. The retail price of a dozen starts from $20 and goes up to $70. Despite this, Haddad said that florists prefer importing roses for this occasion rather than planting them, as they require heating, which is costly.
According to Lebanese Farmers Association, the local production of flowers is estimated at $15 million per year. Around 1,500 farmers work in this sub sector.
Although there is a large production of flowers, the country still imports specific kinds, such as orchids, from Asian countries. Four main traders import roses in the winter and tulips in the summer. Elias Mansour, Member at the Association of Lebanese Farmers, said that orchids require specific weather conditions and are costly.
Exports of flowers are still very shy, although there is need for such products in Gulf countries. Haddad said that this is because the operational cost of the agriculture is higher than in other countries, such as India.
Date Posted: Feb 12, 2016