Flower growers in Claveria, Misamis Oriental hoped to recover from the economic impact of the Covid19 pandemic, thanks to more frequent events and gatherings—such as Valentine’s Day last week—in northern Mindanao generating a demand for colorful blooms.
The loosened restrictions allowed the gradual rise of cut flower production which was previously only supported by buyers of ornamental plants that grew in popularity during lockdown.
Municipal agriculturist Pat Domaloan noted that expected sales on Valentine’s Day would boost the flower industry, with many farmers having prepared for it since the start of the year. Reportedly, the price of roses jumps from its regular price of P80 to P350 to P450 per dozen on the day of hearts.
Farmers had revived their plots in order to start planting again to get in on the recovering market. Domaloan said that from only 50 hectares, flower farms swelled to some 80 hectares. On average, 400 dozens are harvested per hectare.
Before the pandemic, the Municipal Agriculture Office saw the flower industry to be a driver of agricultural growth last year. But subsequent lockdowns shrank the number of events and made transport of roses difficult if not impossible.
Domaloan said: “We did not anticipate that the impact brought by the travel restrictions would be this big. The pandemic brought huge losses to the cut flower industry.”
He said that in the period of March to October last year, many of the roses rotted in the farms as they had not been delivered to markets of Cagayan de Oro and other places, even as far as Cebu City.
Claveria supplies flowers, particularly roses, to the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Butuan, a business that has grown with the construction of a national highway that passed through the region toward Gingoog City.
Its cold climate and fertile soil made from pyroclastic deposits of extinct volcanoes Mt. Balatukan and Mt. Mogabon, has made it suitable for flower growing.
Rose plantations are located in a small valley community in Barangay Mat-i and these are harvested no less than thrice a week, yielding 3,000 to 5,000 dozens of cut roses.
Photo: Mindanao Daily News