Peshawar is known as the city of flowers, as many villages adjacent to the city including Bazid Khel, Shahab Khel, Masho Khel and Soliman Khel are the major producers and suppliers of flowers. The farmers in these villages grow variety of flowers as per the local industry demand which are normally used for marriages and other events. Carnations, marigold, jasmines and red roses are few of the species which are widely grown in these villages.
The villages are located near tribal areas boundary, which in past have remained a hub of terrorism. However, production and trading of flowers did not stop in these areas even when terrorism was on peak. The farmers used to earn a reasonable money from flower industry to support their families.
However, currently the flower market is passing through a worst situation as the government has imposed lockdown which has considerably affected flowers industry. According to the local farmers, the war on terror had failed to affect the trade and production of flowers but the lockdown has badly affected demand of flowers in local and national market thereby hitting hard local farmers.
While talking to Voice of KP, a flower grower and businessman, Inam Khan said that all these villages were one of the biggest markets of flowers production in the country and have been playing its role in adding more beauty to the environment and social gatherings. The business also allowed farmers to earn comparatively more money due to higher demands and high prices. He further said that, March and April are peak season as large quantity of different varieties of flowers are produced in this period while people generally prefers to arrange gatherings or social events in this time period due to pleasant weather. However, imposition of ban on social gatherings and complete lockdown have affected the demand of flowers in local and national market. This in turn have badly affected the local flower growers of these villages, who have lost much needed revenue.
Another flower grower from Masho Khel village told us on phone that he liked to grow flowers instead of any other crop as they have been earning more in flower farming. He told us that flowers production cannot be stopped as flowers are in demand in all seasons and gatherings. However, currently the lockdown has badly affected flower demand as very less social gatherings are happening now a days.
Flower industry not only support local farmers but also contribute positively towards environment. The provincial government should pay attention to these neglected farmers and devise a proper strategy towards their protection and wellbeing. The government also needs to incentivize flower industry in order to encourage more production as it can become a major industry to earn a much-needed revenue through its exports to other countries.