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21st February, Valentine's Day

Fungal attack dents hope for bonanza rose sale in Jashore

OUR CORRESPONDENT | February 12, 2024 00:00:00

Photo shows rose plants attacked with a fungal disease in a garden in Godkhali union of Jashore district — FE Photo

BENAPOLE, Feb 11: Recent widespread attack of a fungal disease on rose plants in Godkhali of Jashore district, the country's flower producing belt, has put a big damper on the growers' expectation for windfall profit this season.

The traders in the wholesale flower market here which caters to the demand of 52 districts of the country are apprehensive of a sales debacle this year during 21 February, Pahela Falgun, Valentine's Day-- the occasions when the local florists traditionally have been experiencing a brisk business.

For the alarming outbreak of the fungal disease, flower growers are counting huge losses in their business around the 'flower season' spring.

Again, flower lovers are frustrated by the thoughts of the imminent shortage of roses on Valentine's Day.

Branches, leaves and buds are falling off the rose plants due to the fungal disease.

Attack of the fungal disease has damaged rose fields in a vast area, much to the frustration of the growers.

Those concerned think that intensive cold, fog and untimely rain are also the reasons behind the destruction of the rose fields.

According to sources, different species of flowers are grown on 650 hectares of land in Godkhali-Panisara-Haria area of Jashore 's Jhikargacha upazila.

Of this, rose is cultivated on at least 250 hectares of land while China rose plantation covers 30 hectares of the total land.

Farmers said even after informing the agriculture officials or acting on their advices, there has been found no solution. They alleged that agriculture officials did not come to their fields.

On the other hand, agriculture officials said that the fungal infection could not be prevented as the farmers were using excessive fertilisers and pesticides not going by their instructions.

Jhikargacha upazila agriculture officer Masud Hossain Palash said due to heavy rainfall and fog, roses have started to rot.

"We visited fields after receiving complaints from farmers. Gardens less than a year old are more affected. After talking with the farmers, fungicide spraying has been suggested for this disease. Now the situation has improved due to rise in temperature," added Masud Hossain.

Flower ceremony is now held across vast grounds of the flower capital. Among them, the number of white-capped rose buds in the rose garden is less.

Farmers expressed the apprehension that rose production would be less this year than last year. Leaves, twigs or buds are rotting. Spraying insecticides or fungicides is not the solution.

Abdur Rahim, president of Jashore Flower Producers and Marketers' Cooperative Association, said rose is grown on at least 250 hectares of land in the region.

This year, rose and gladiolus growers suffered big losses due to severe cold and untimely rains. Stems, leaves, and flower buds rotted. Naturally, production was disrupted. Roses did not grow as expected.

He said more or less everyone's flowers got damaged. However, those who applied excessive fertilisers and over-irrigated land for quick flowering suffered biggest losses.

District Assistant Agriculture Officer Ardhendu Paday said, "Rose plants have been attacked by fungal disease. Farmers don't listen to advices. They are not able to prevent fungal infection due to excessive use of fertilisers and pesticides. However, with the arrival of hot weather, rotting will stop."

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