Coronavirus fears are withering sales for flower farmers

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Coronavirus fears are withering sales for flower farmers


Business is slow at a flower market, located on the third floor of the Jayu Wholesale Market in Busan, as many schools canceled their entrance and graduation ceremonies amid growing concerns about the novel coronavirus. According to merchants, their sales decreased by 70 to 80 percent compared to last year. [SONG BONG-GEUN]

Flower farmers are one of the unexpected victims of the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

As many elementary, middle and high schools, as well as universities, canceled their entrance and graduation ceremonies that were planned to be held in February to prevent the further spread of the new coronavirus, flower farmers are suffering due to reduced demand for bouquets, usually presented at such ceremonies.

According to the Nonghyup Flower Market in Busan, the price of 10 roses is about 4,000 won ($3.38) to 6,000 won these days, while during the same period last year it was about 12,000 won to 15,000 won.

The price of baby’s breath, another popular bloom during graduation season, also took a major tumble when compared to the same period last year.

The price of a bouquet of baby’s breath was about 15,000 won to 25,000 won last year but decreased more than 60 percent due to the public’s reduced demand to between 6,000 won and 8,000 won this year.

“We are gravely concerned about the future should this situation continue,” said an employee of the Nonghyup Flower Market.

“I had to throw away about 15,000 dead roses today,” Kang Jae-hee, a flower farmer who has been growing in Gangseo District, Busan, and Miryang, North Gyeongsang, for over 20 years, told Yonhap News Agency on Tuesday. “No matter how many times I visit Nonghyup Flower Market, I fail to sell my flowers.”

“I worked so hard to grow flowers and invested a lot only thinking about the time period when many events are held by schools,” Kang said. “I have been working as a flower farmer for about 22 years, but it was never like this before. I hope the government can come up with countermeasures as soon as possible.”

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