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Valentine’s Day brings smiles to rose growers in NE

GUWAHATI, February 12 (The Hindu): Soaring prices of roses resulting from shortfall in production across the country due to extreme cold have brought smiles to rose cultivators in the northeast, particularly those from Mizoram, as traders vie with one another to cater to the huge demand for Valentine's Day celebration in the region.
Mr. Rajesh Prasad, Managing Director of Zopar Exports Private Limited, a pioneer in rose cultivation and a leading grower in the region told The Hindu that about one lakh Dutch roses are expected to be sold in the northeast. About 50,000 roses are likely to be sold on Valentine's Day alone. Demand for about 40,000 flowers is expected to be met by production in the region while the rest would be flown in from Bangalore and Pune, he said.
In 2011, over 50,000 roses were sold in the northeast market during the celebration.
Apart from rose cultivators in Mizoram, strawberry growers in Meghalaya are also going to get a good return this time. Prices of strawberry which is also considered a cherished gift has already shot up from Rs. 200 to 225 for each kg.
Rose production in Nagaland and Meghalaya was hit because of extreme cold weather this winter. In Mizoram the weather was a little warmer due to which the production was on the expected lines.
Prasad said that due to shortfall in production the wholesale price of rose in the Bangalore auction market has already shot up to Rs. 6 to 9 per stick. As a result, the retail price is also expected to shoot up to Rs. 20 or more as against Rs. 10 per stem during 2011.
In 2002 when Prasad pioneered rose cultivation he could send on an average only 300 roses a day to Aizawl. Now, the Aizawl market consumes on an average 4000 roses a day.

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