How far do you have to drive, to find a florist in any Indian city?

I want to start with asking you a question.
When was the last time you bought flowers for someone? I guess the most common answer would be never, it’s been a long time, don’t really remember, Valentine’s day or Mother’s day. Mostly in that order.
Gifting flowers is still not an in-thing in India – yet. We would rather spend hours on our phone, and do our research to find what should we gift our friends, family members or loved ones. More often than not, we would not consider flowers as a gift.

Businesses always try to meet the demands of the market. The Indian flower market is worth $230 million (INR 1600 Crores). Out of which Rs. 600 Crores accounts for the exports. And it is safe for us to assume that the domestic consumption of flowers in India is around Rs. 1000 Crores. But since most of the floral market is in the unorganised sector, we do not have enough data to prove this. Another data shows that the per capita consumption of flowers in India is much lower when compared to countries like Norway, which has to highest per capita consumption at $146, followed by Switzerland at $126 and Germany at $88.

Flowers have always been an integral part of Indian culture. But now, it is only limited to decors for grand celebrations like a wedding, parties and festivals. But people like you and me buying flowers for our personal use or gifting is a rare scene in Indian cities. Compare that to people living in developed countries likes the United States or Europe. And in countries like China, more than 90% per cent of the cut flowers produced are consumed within China. In India, we do not collect enough data to determine our flower consumption. Remember, this is a market that makes more than 1600 crores. And most of the trade happens in the unorganised sector.

Let’s look at major cities in India; New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Chennai & Bengaluru and how many flower shops do we find when we drive across the streets of these metro cities? I’m sure everyone in India knows, “jo dikhta hai, woh bikta hai” (People buy what they see). But, we don’t see much investment in this regard. we hardly see florists across our city streets. And if they are not there, we can’t blame Indians of not buying natural fresh flowers as gifts. Former Union Minister for Agriculture, Shri Sharad Pawar and Former Chief Minister of Delhi NCR, Smt. Sheila Dixit had voiced their opinion about setting up a state-of-the-art flower market in Delhi NCR with retail outlets. They had a vision to have quality flower shops across the city at important landmarks like, hospitals, Malls, Business Centres, Airports, etc. But it has been more than 10 years, but there is not required infrastructure set up for this cause. Former President of India, Shri. A.P.J. Abdul Kamal, in his speech while inaugurating the International Flora Expo 2006 in Delhi, had voiced his vision that floriculture should be a Billion dollar industry in India and should create a million jobs for Indians. Media Today, an organiser of Agro Exhibitions in India has been conducting International Flora Expo in India for a decade now, they bring the industry together and create a platform for people to network and grow their business opportunities. The next International Flora Expo will be held from 22nd – 24th February, 2019 in Pune.

In the end, I would like to close my argument by saying, that every one of us should make an attempt to go green and buy more and more natural product. And the government of the day should encourage small businesses to invest in horticulture, landscaping and floriculture so create favourable conditions for businesses like these flourish. 

Here’s a beautiful line to end with – She bought herself flowers for no darned good reason – except they were beautiful and she deserved more beauty in her life.

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