Srinagar: Inclement weather coupled with frequent rains since the onset of spring in Valley has hit the sales of flower and vegetable seedlings.
People associated with the trade said that there used to be huge demand for the seedlings in the months of March and April, but this season the business is as low as it can get.
Nazir Ahmad Lone, who has been running the flower and vegetable seedling business from the last 20 years said: “We are seeing very less number of buyers this season. Earlier, we used to get short of supply of the seedlings with the onset of spring as thousands of customers would visit us but now only a few buyers turn up to purchase flowers. This is because the frequent rains have turned kitchen gardens into damp, and so people are not buying saplings.”
Nazir and about 29 other seedling sellers set their stalls everyday on the footpath bordering Pratap Park in Lal Chowk (although illegally) to sell seedlings and plantlets of different flower and vegetable varieities. People would buy these seedlings to plant in their kitchen gardens.
Expecting good sales, Nazir said they (sapling sellers) had imported flowers from Holland and other countries this time. “But the sales are not up to our expectations, so far,” he said.
However, in spite of the less demand, the flower vendors said they have not lowered down prices of the seedlings.
“A single flower seedling of imported rose would normally cost about Rs. 150. The local variety of the same rose would cost Rs 70,” said Javed Ahmad Lone, another seller, adding that around 40-50 varieties of flowers seedlings are available in their market.
“Moreover, Lilium, Floccus and Dahlia are in good demand,” he said.
The vendors, meanwhile, also blamed 2014 floods for the dip in the sales of flower seedlings.
“After the devastating September 2014 floods, people hardly buy flowers saplings because of the damage to their houses as well as gardens,” said Nazir.
Incessant rainfall from the last few days have brought down the temperatures across valley, forcing many people to stay confined to their homes. A total of 25.3 mm of rainfall has been recorded since a week.
Now, as the MeT department has predicted improvement in weather in coming days, vendors are expecting more buyers.