After COVID, the stench of poor sales at Varanasi’s flower market – Gaonconnection

Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

Flower seller Bablu, who operates at the biggest flower market in Purvanchal in Varanasi, was surprised when the seller who is sitting next to him left his garlands with Bablu and went home. “Sell those garlands and keep whatever you get. I’m tired of sitting here since morning and not selling a single garland,” he told me, Bablu told Gaon connection.

“Our business has collapsed to the point where we are facing starvation. We can’t even recover the costs, forget to make a profit. Besides Corona, the rain also hit our company. Dipped flowers don’t sell,” Bablu said.

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Floral activity has collapsed across the country as a result of the pandemic. This is the second year in a row that the demand for flowers is lower during the wedding season (March-May). In addition, places of worship also remained closed.

Those who grow flowers and everyone who works with flowers wonder how to make ends meet. In many cities, a significant number of people are associated with the flower trade. Their source of income has diminished or disappeared overnight. And one city where this is very visible is Kashi, also known as Varanasi.

Kisan Phool Mandi in Varanasi. All photos: Anand Kumar

From a booming business to nothing

Varanasi, the city of ghats and busy streets, has thousands of temples. In some places, every other house has a temple. Every day, flowers worth thousands of rupees are used here. Now it has come to a screeching halt.

“Temples and mosques have been practically closed due to Corona rules. Although weddings take place, they take place with many restrictions. The money we earn today is barely enough to buy dal and roast,Sudama Devi, who sells garlands and flowers in Kisan Phool Mandi, said Gaon Login.

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Sudama Devi, 46, is a resident of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s parliamentary constituency. “No government takes our situation seriously,” she complained.

Flowers are decaying in large quantities in the Varanasi market due to lack of demand. They all end up in the trash.

Even in January of last year, traders in the kisan mandi did business of Rs 25 lakh every day. “Now it’s a measly seven to eight lakh rupees,” said Vishal Dubey, manager. “Small traders in this area ceased their activities following the virtual closure of the temple. Even though the temples are open for a short time, relatively few people visit them and the flower vendors near the temples suffer losses. It has become increasingly difficult for them to meet the cost of their inputs,” he added.

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Those who grow flowers and everyone who works with flowers wonder how to make ends meet.

From 280 to 40 quintals of flowers per day at the Kashi Vishwanath temple

The volume of flowers used in the pre-pandemic era in the world-famous temple of Kashi Vishwanath amounted to more than 200 quintals. “The temple consumed anywhere up to two hundred and eighty quintals of flowers a day. This has dropped to just forty quintals a day,” said Vishal Singh, Secretary of the Varanasi Development Authority.

This drop in activity has affected workers and gardeners who collect flowers from gardens and resell them to transform them into garlands. “The flower garland business is operating with a loss of around 80% due to the Corona crisis,” explained Lalu Rajbhar, 32, who has been selling garlands and flowers for 10 years.

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Holding a garland of marigold flowers, he said: “We were barely surviving under Corona restrictions, and the rain increased our misery. This is the first time in ten years that such a thing has happened. He said feeding his family and educating his four children seemed impossible.

Talking about the drop in the sale of garlands and flowers,” Rajbhar explained to Gaon Login that it didn’t help that what was available was ‘too expensive’. “Currently, the temples are closed most of the time. No one also orders a large amount of flowers for weddings. the mandi remains closed Saturday and Sunday due to a weekly curfew. How are we going to win? asked Rajbhar, who barely earns 300-400 rupees a day, less than half of his pre-pandemic earnings.

Floral activity has collapsed across the country as a result of the pandemic.

Business center, now withering

Traders from all over Purvanchal including Gorakhpur, Deoria, Mau, Ghazipur, Jaunpur and Azamgarh come to Varanasi farmers flower market to buy flowers and garlands. Marigold flowers usually came from Kolkata.

“Our business has drastically decreased since the Corona restrictions were announced. Flower growers do not know where to go to sell garlands and flowers, as the administration has eased restrictions for all markets except the flower market. Is “Only those who grow vegetables are farmers? Those who grow flowers are also farmers,” said Vishal Dubey, 37, manager of Kisan Phool Mandi. Gaon connection.

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Although the situation has seen some improvement, Dubey said “the efforts have not even met half of the list of traders’ expectations.”

According to the report of the Ministry of Agriculture and Welfare of Union Farmers, in the year 2019-2020, 323,000 hectares of aromatic and medicinal flowers were cultivated and 3,000,000 metric tons were cultivated. been harvested.

According to the first advance estimate for 2020-21, the cultivated area has fallen to 318,000 hectares and production is estimated at 2,793,000 metric tons.

The trade in flowers is calculated both by weight and by number. Vishal Dubey said 20,000 to 25,000 marigolds, 15,000 to 20,000 tuberoses, 25,000 to 30,000 beautiful, and four quintals of roses are the items usually requested on a daily basis. However, compared to the previous year, this year only 25% of traders came to buy goods.

Read the original Hindi story here.

Terisa K. Carn