Pahela Phalgun (the first day of spring), Valentine's Day and International Mother Language Day in February have made the flower growers of Jashore hopeful about overcoming the losses they incurred owing to the Covid-19 pandemic in the year gone by.
Abdur Rahim, president of Bangladesh Flower Society, said the damage to the flower sector caused by the coronavirus and the recent cyclone Amphan was huge.
"We hope flowers worth Tk10 crore will be sold this month and the farmers will be able to recover their losses," he said.
Hundreds of flower growers from villages in Jhikargachha and Sharsha upazila of the district make their way every day to Gadkhali, one of the largest wholesale markets of flowers in the country.
Small and big wholesalers from different parts of the country buy flowers from there.
Commercial flower production in the country began in the villages under Gadkhali union of Jhikargachha in the 1980s. The annual turnover in flower production and trade in the region is to the tune of hundreds of crores of taka.
It may be noted, though, that flower farmers could not do any business in February and March last year due to the pandemic despite the fact that the period between January and April is the peak season for them. Besides, hurricane Amphan too affected them in a bad way.
However, this year, they are getting good prices for their flowers.
At present, roses are being sold at Tk500-Tk600 per 100 pieces, tuberoses at Tk500, gladioli at Tk300 to Tk600, jarbara at Tk600-Tk1,000 and marigolds at Tk350 per 1,000 pieces.
Rahmat Gazi, a flower farmer from village Haria of Jhikaragachha, said he had cultivated roses on around 0.40 hectare (2.5 bighas) of land. He sold roses at Tk500 per 100 pieces in Gadkhali market a few days ago.
Jahangir Hossain, a farmer from Patuapara of the same upazila, said, "I have cultivated roses on 0.48 hectares (three bighas) of land. I hope I will get a good price ahead of 14 February."
Flower grower Yunus Ali of village Panisara of the upazila said, "It costs Tk36 lakh to cultivate gerbera flowers on 0.40 hectare (one acre) of land, Tk2.5 lakh for tuberoses, Tk4.5 lakh for roses, Tk4 lakh for gladioli and Tk2.3 lakh for marigolds. We have suffered a lot of damage during the Corona period. I hope for a good sale of flowers this month."
Different kinds of flowers are cultivated in 75 villages of Jhikargachha and Sharsha upazila in the district. Different kinds of flowers, including marigolds, roses, gladioli, tuberoses, gerbera, cosmos, daisy gypsies, dahlias and chrysanthemums, can be seen on both sides of the roads in the villages.
Almost every field in Panisara, Haria, Krishnachandrapur, Patuapara, Syedpara, Matikumra, Baisa, Kauba and Phulia villages of Gadkhali union and Sharsha's Navaran, Ulashi, Gadkhali and Shyamlagachhi villages is covered in carpets of flowers.
In Jashore, flowers were cultivated on 633 hectares of land in the 2017-2018 fiscal year, on 636 hectares of land in the 2018-2019 fiscal year, on 600 hectares in the 2019-2020 fiscal year and on 550 hectares in the current fiscal year, according to the Jashore Regional Agriculture Extension Department office.
On average, about 58.83 crore pieces of flowers are produced on the land.
As Masum Hossain Palash, Jhikargachha Upazila Agriculture officer, put it, "During the Covid-19 pandemic, the farmers suffered financially. This time, they hope to overcome that loss."