TOKYO and KOCHI, Apr. 11 – The market price of cut flowers is continuing to fall. The daily average of the flower prices at seven primary flower wholesale markets in Japan dropped six yens to 32 yens per one piece, the lowest ever in a decade, according to the daily market index released by the Japan Agricultural News. After Prime Minister Abe declared a state of emergency on April 7, many of large-scale florist chains and individual retailers in big commercial complexes decided to suspend their business, triggering a huge decline in the average price of cut flowers in the index called Nichi-noh INDEX.
Offering of the day at the cut flower wholesale markets in Tokyo was down nearly 20% from the same time last year while the prices there were also down by almost 20%. “Growers can ship excellent products, but there is no demand for flowers anywhere in the market; they can’t find new customers as they are required to stay home or in office,” and it’s a very tough time for the industry, according to an industry insider.
Aoyama Flower Market, a major flower shop chain, has decided to shut down its outlets nationwide, except some in Hokkaido, Sendai, and Hiroshima, after the emergency declaration. Hibiya Kadan, another large-scale florist chain, has closed most of its outlets at department stores and commercial complexes. At its online store, it currently accepts Mother’s Day gift orders only.
According to Yoshiyuki Matsushima, chief of Japan Floral Marketing Association (JFMA), the industry-wide efforts for expanding flower sales were just about to bear fruit. “It’s so sad that we are losing business today,” he said. “Unusual slowdown in the prices is causing anxiety in the entire flower industry,” he added.
Dahlia grower in Kochi Prefecture halves shipment regrettably
The decline in the demand in the coronavirus-hit market is posing a question of survival to flower growers in Kochi Prefecture. The closure of local department stores and individual florists have given them an additional blow, and they are increasingly more concerned about the lack of sales channels.
Dahlia growers in Geisei Village, Kochi Prefecture, held an emergency meeting at their product collection and shipping site to review their shipping plan. “The more we ship, the more we lose money,” some at the meeting said. Some even questioned if they should stop the shipment for a while or to shift to other products instead.
With the price of dahlia declining to 60 to 70% of the usual rate, the producers may not be able to pay the cost of production and shipping. Take one of the popular breeds in Japan, Kamakura, for example. The price of one Kamakura was around 200 yen in March last year, but the price today was 70 yen.
A 56-year-old farmer who grows Kamakura at his 6,400-square-meter farmland has already decided to halve his weekly shipment to 5,000 from 10,000 to minimize the loss. In March, his revenue will drop by 2 million yen from the same month last year. He anticipates a bigger loss in April.