The outbreak of novel coronavirus has adversely affected Gadkhali, the capital of flowers, located in Jhikargacha upazila under Jashore district. The village used to get crowds of florists from early morning every day before the outbreak of Covid-19.
But that is in the past, and there has been pin-drop silence there for the last five months.
December to April is considered the season of flowers. The demand for flowers rises especially on Victory Day, Ekushey February, Independence Day, Pahela Falgun, Valentine's Day and on the Bengali New Years' day.
But the coronavirus has brought all this to a standstill at Gadkhali village in Jashore.
Not only in Gadkhali, the scenario is almost the same in other parts of the country where flowers are cultivated commercially, including Gazipur and Savar.
The matured flowers are now being used as cattle feed. Flower farmers say that the effects of coronavirus have ruined them.
Abdur Rahim, president of the Bangladesh Flower Society, said the coronavirus had caused at least Tk450 crore loss to those involved in the country's flower industry in the last six months.
"We have requested the government to provide a loan of Tk500 crore at four percent interest to adjust the loss, but we are yet to get that loan," he said.
The loss in Gadkhali is worth Tk100 crore
Golam Rasul, a florist from Nandi Dumuria village in Jhikargacha, said that the recent coronavirus outbreak has had a devastating effect on flower trade. Flower growers have been witnessing a miserable situation for the last five months while many of them are losing interest in this business, he added.
Roni Ahmed, organising secretary of Gadkhali Florists' Welfare Association, said, "We are worried, and we are eagerly waiting for the situation to return to normal."
Abdur Rahim, president of the Bangladesh Flower Society, said flower growers and traders in the Jashore region have lost at least Tk100 crore as they could not sell flowers for the outbreak of coronavirus.
Farmers here are also cutting flowers from their gardens and using them to feed their cattle.
Florists of Gazipur, Savar share the same fate
The flower growers of Gazipur and Savar are also facing difficulties because of the coronavirus outbreak. The flower trade has been closed there as no social and cultural events are taking place because of the coronavirus.
Besides, there are lockdowns in some districts. As a result, the sale of flowers also has stopped which is causing trouble for florists.
Mahbub Alam, deputy director of the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE), Gazipur, said 10 types of flowers were being cultivated on 15 hectares of land in the district.
Marking different days and celebrations, the flower farmers prepare in advance to supply flowers in the markets. But they failed to collect flowers even for some of the large events this year due to the coronavirus situation, said the DAE official.
Delwar Hossain, a florist from Gazipur, said, "I have cultivated different types of flowers including tulips, lilies, roses, strawberries and capsicums on more than six acres of land. I had to spend over Tk22 lakh for the lily flowers."
"Thousands of flowers are getting destroyed in the garden every day because of the Covid-19. I had a target of selling flowers worth Tk35 lakh ahead of Mujib Borsho. But coronavirus has destroyed everything," said Delwar.
I have lost at least Tk50 lakh in the past six months, he added.
Delwar, owner of Moumita Flowers also said that flowers worth Tk15,000 were sold on average per day from the garden.
As there was no organisation of florists or traders in Gazipur district, the extent of the loss was not known.
Florists in Savar lose Tk100 crore
According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Savar, flowers have been cultivated on around 300 acres of land in Savar.
Around 30 percent of the flowers were sold to celebrate some days and events before the outbreak of Covid-19. But the rest of the flowers are in the field.
The setting and atmosphere of the rose village Shyampur in Birulia, Mostarapara and Bagnibari have completely changed.
The large roses have rotted on the plants. The farmers are no longer seen going to the market with baskets filled with roses. The rose markets wear a deserted look.
Amber Ali, a florist from Savar's Birulia area, lamented the loss, saying, "I planted roses on five bighas of land here. I used to sell 7-8 thousand roses in the wholesale market of Shahbag in the capital. Now I am not harvesting the flowers because of the coronavirus."
Flowers are used as food for animals, he added.
Shahjahan, president of the Kumarkhoda Flower Growers' Association in Savar, said more than 150 members of the association had planted flowers on their land.
Due to the favourable weather, at least 300 bighas of land produced a record number of flowers this year, he added.
"The coronavirus outbreak and floods have caused severe damage to flower cultivation in this season. In the last six months, florists in Savar and Ashulia areas have lost at least Tk100 crore," said Shahjahan.