The COVID-19 pandemic has been a nightmare to many businesses. The flower industry too has not been spared from the wrath of the deadly virus.This year's tulip season in the Netherlands -one of the largest players in flower export market- witnessed flower growers destroying millions of flowers a day as the pandemic cut the floral demand.
Tulips, roses, chrysanthemums among others are hugely dumped instead of landing in the hands Mother's during Mother's day. According to government figures, Netherlands has 44 percent share of the world trade in floriculture products and makes almost 77 percent of flower bulbs sold globally.
"About 85 percent of the turnover at their marketplace is gone," said Michel van Schie, press officer at Royal FloraHolland, a cooperative of growers that trades about 12 billion plants and flowers each year, reported New York Post
The crisis has spread across globe
This crisis has spread to farmers from Europe to African nations like Kenya and Ethiopia having developed flower industries. At Maridadi Flowers farm in Kenya, where 120 people usually work, is pushed to a dump flowers at a site. Huge mounds of discarded flowers from about 230,000 to 250,000 lay piled up per day, as per the report. Jack Kneppers, from Netherlands, has his business working in Kenya for decades, said about 80 percent of his staff of 720 is now at home.
"This is costing us about half a million dollars a month to maintain the company," Kneppers said to the post. "If this continues for much longer we have to start laying off people because we can't afford this."
Destruction, only solution
"The only solution is that we destroyed them," said Michel van Schie, spokesman for Royal FloraHolland, a huge auction house for flowers, reported AFP, adding that this was first such crisis they faced. Between 70 to 80 percent of Netherlands' total annual flower production is being destroyed, according to Royal FloraHolland
Prisca Kleijn, head of the Royal Association of Bulb Producers.said that the crisis has came at "the worst moment in the year" for tulip growers. "We have Mothers Day coming and the tulip growers start harvesting from January until April-May so it's right in the middle of the season, when they have to earn their money," said Kleijn.
Japan's unique effort and Philadelphia's giveaway
Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries called public to send flowers on "White Day", March 14, as Coronavirus hit flower demand, reported Kyodo News.
This time of the year in Japan marks the month with end of the academic and business year is usually seen with surges in demand of flowers for graduation ceremonies at schools, send-off parties and weddings. In Philadelphia, florists gave away 2,000 flowers from events canceled due to coronavirus.