Dhaka : Floriculture is no longer a passionate pastime in Bangladesh. Rather flower plantation is now like any other agricultural enterprise in volume and economic return. People now depend more on fresh flower in decorating home, function or any social event, not on paper-flower or artificial decoratives.
Thorny flowers like rose, orchid, gladiolas, various ferns are top in demand. Other floral species lurk in fashionable decoratives and making floral arrangement, looking more gorgeous. Flower plantations could now be seen in many parts of the country, though commercial flower plantation began at Godkhali and adjoining villages of Jhikargacha Upazila in Jashore. No surprising that plantation of flower in Bangladesh is not only meeting our demand at home, it is being exported to many flower-loving countries like Japan and Singapore. Flowers of Bangladesh have an intrinsic exception. It excels both in colour and inherent fragrance, unlike many European flowers. What Bangladesh now needs most is floriculture nursery and research facility to run plantations more scientifically and develop its cultivation, preservation and export worthiness.
Flowers are now grown almost everywhere in the country, but the main markets still now are Dhaka and the port city of Chattogram. New planters are fast coming up around Dhaka and Chattogram and specialised carrying and packaging facilities are now important, more than ever. Flower is a very sensitive and perishable product that needs proper air conditioning and be treated with care as a special handling. A flower grown in Holland this morning could be found ready for sale in UK flower shops by the same afternoon. They have dedicated flights from Amsterdam to Heathrow or Manchester. Thai flowers are likewise airborne daily from Bangkok to Tokyo.
Earlier plantation was confined to home courtyard cared by gardeners, called 'Malis'. Now after the commercial plantation flowers need professionalism both in cultivation and handling. It's a matter of great satisfaction that NGOs and lending banks are coming up with much interest and passion for flower.
Bangladesh is equally rich in wild flowers and ferns. Planters, however, prefer growing flowers for marketing attraction. Foreign flowers are expensive and have already been started growing commercially. With more care and funding facilities, Bangladesh will be another destination for flowers. The wild flowers also have a bright future if planted commercially. Among 5,000 variety of wild flowers we are blessed with, the prospect of growing Babla, Patibata, Chakunda, Dewra, Gobra, Neel-Lata Jalkolmi, Bonkolmi, Nishinda, Barolekha, Jaldhania, Sagore Nishinda, Bonshon and Vola varieties of wild flowers.
Some medicinal herbs and flowers, or buds, have an anticipated demand in foreign countries. A book was published with description of those common and unknown flowers named 'Flora of British India' in 1872 by famous floriculturist William Rothberg, Nathaniel Wallich and David Griffith. Another book published in 1930 is titled as 'Flora of the Sundarbans' by another famous floriculturist David Graine. Bangladesh has a small, but dedicated National Herborium founded in the late 1970s. More such initiatives would go a long way in creating and widening the country's flower market abroad.