July 2, 2022

Lockdown makes Vijayawada flower market shine

The city’s otherwise bustling wholesale flower market looks deserted, the market association has announced it will be closed until the end of the lockdown period.

Sellers are unsure when the market will resume trading as uncertainty still looms over the lifting of the lockdown, which is scheduled for April 14. They are keeping their fingers crossed as the city had seen muted celebrations on Srirama Navami on April 2.

Their concern has a reason. They had hardly done any business during Ugadi as the market had been closed since the janata curfew on March 22.

Losses during the picking season

Usually the flower trade picks during the auspicious masaam of Sravana. Women throng the market to buy flowers for Varalakshmi Vratam. This year the Sravana Maasam starts from the last week of July. But given the situation, sellers are unsure if they would be able to do normal business by then. Otherwise, they have to wait for Dasara or the wedding season later in the year.

“We do business from ₹15,000 to ₹30,000 if we work from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. But the flower business is volatile. Sometimes all the predictions are wrong. Although the market receives jasmine during the summer and it has good demand, it is unlikely that we will be able to recoup the losses,” says Qaja, a flower seller.

According to reports, the flower market is supplied by Bengaluru, Kolar, Kuppam in Chittoor district, Tadepalli in Guntur district, etc. In normal times, arrivals would be between 250 metric tons and 400 metric tons. During the Dasara it rises up to 800 mt.

There are over 80 stores in the market. And each store receives 3-5 tons of flowers per day.

Wholesale Flower Merchants’ Association Chairman Sheik Jani said traders and commissionaires are suffering a loss of between ₹15,000 and ₹20,000 per day due to the lockdown. Daily bets working at the market, roadside vendors are also suffering.

Shorter shelf life

The florists having to be closed at 12 p.m. due to the confinement, the association has decided to close the market until the confinement is lifted.

“Flowers are perishable goods. If the stock is not sold at the end of the day, we have no choice but to empty it the next day. So we lowered the shutters, ”explains Basha, another flower seller.