Pune, Feb.11 : Whether St.Valentines's Day actually helps people to express their heartiest or heartfelt feelings or not, it surely cheers a big number of rose farmers here. The flourishing rose exports ahead of the D-day (Feb.14), bespeaks it.
Indian rose exports pick up momentum ahead of the St.Valentines Day, as farmers get ready to send abroad their produce to foreign markets.
Pune city has literally become a bed of roses. It shares the status of being country's largest floriculture cluster with IT city Bangalore, with total area accounting for 500 hectares of land under organised floriculture between both the cities.
Farmers are working overtime here for past many weeks to be able to supply roses on time for exporters.
With both foreign and domestic markets requiring a large quantity of blooms for the St.Valentine's Day, markets are swarming with cut flowers in various colours and sizes. Though the red rose remains a hot cake.
"We have to start preparing at least 40-50 days in advance. This time our target is to export more than 300, 000 flowers to European markets. The red is in great demand during Valentine's Day. We have completed 80 percent of our export order and very soon our last shipment will leave for Europe. Then again we will have to prepare for Dubai market. We are planning to send a large shipment there as well," said Shivaji Bhegde, the President of Flower Growers Association.
Around Valentine's Day, the general market price of rose is up from Rs. 10 to Rs.50. The prices also vary from a bud to a full bloom and also the colours influence the price of the rose.
The business fraternity, however, lament the routine protests of some Hindu nationalist parties on St.Valentine's Day who describe it just a multi-national companies gimmick and contrary to Indian traditions.
"Over 250-300 farmers are involved in floriculture. During the Valentine's Day, they send their flowers to Mumbai, which is a big market for flowers. But it badly affects the farmers' earnings when some political activists protest. On one hand these parties are fighting for the farmers in Vidarbha (regarding rampant suicides in farmers) and on the other, they are ruining the business of other farmers. When they stamp and ruin the roses on Valentines Day, it pains us a lot to see our flowers being destroyed in such a manner," said Shivaji Bhegde, a farmer and the President of Flower Growers Association in Pune.
In 2007, roses worth rupees five to six million were exported to the European markets from Pune alone.
In India, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bhopal, Indore and Goa, are some of major markets for floriculture. These markets are supplied a major part of their total produce from Pune.
The first official Saint Valentine's Day was declared on 14th of February by Pope Galasius in 496, in memory of a 3rd century martyred priest in Rome. By Shivaji