Love in Europe blooms in Bengaluru

Love in Europe blooms in Bengaluru

Roses at the International Flower Auction Bengaluru (IFAB) Limited in Hebbal in Bengaluru. DH photo/ Janardhan B K

This Valentine’s Day, love in Europe, Middle-East and Sub-Saharan countries will manifest through 40 varieties of roses grown around Bengaluru.

The demand for Bengaluru roses has gone up over the years. From being the eternal symbol of love to perhaps the only crop from the region to withstand extreme agrarian conditions, these flowers from the city have lit up the farmer’s face.

The International Flower Auction Bengaluru (IFAB) Limited in Hebbal, ahead of the peak season coinciding with Valentine’s Day, is buzzing with rose growers and buyers. The auction that commences at 6 am goes on till afternoon, attracting several exporters. Sources at the air-conditioned centre — the only flower auctioning centre in the country — said that unlike previous years, the demand for roses has gone up by 15-20% this Valentine. Interestingly, the region reeling under extreme conditions has flooded the market with a variety of flowers.

Picked up from the auction centre, the rose bunches are stacked inside a refrigerator cargo container which will be loaded into an aircraft to the Middle-East, the Netherlands and 25 other European countries, besides the markets of Singapore and Malaysia.

Akash Das, a buyer who supplies to Kolkata says, “It takes about 36 hours to transport and each flower is sold at Rs 50 to Rs 60 including all expenses.”

Of the 40-plus rose varieties, Nobbless (pale pink) Jumilia and Taj Mahal (wine red) are the most sought-after. The limited availability of pink roses has pushed its prices north, while the centre is flooded with wine red roses. “Rose prices shoot up during Valentine’s Day. Last year, it went up from Rs 10 to Rs 17 per piece. This time, it has gone up from Rs 10 to Rs 22,” said an auctioneer at IFAB.

On Tuesday, with just two days left for the ‘Love Day’, the Hebbal centre witnessed a sale of 4.10 lakh roses. “We will cross the 5-lakh mark the next two days,” said Mithun, a development officer at IFAB.

At the same time, KR Market witnessed a sale close to Rs 10 lakh roses. “The flowers sold at the auction centre are superior in quality compared to those at KR Market. While top-notch quality and virgin buds are chosen for export, the half-bloomed and other flowers are sent for local consumption,” said Krishnappa, a floral vendor at KR Market.