The government is going to build a modern market with air-conditioned storage capacity in Dhaka's Gabtoli, to maintain and preserve quality flowers which would help local traders gain greater access to the export market.
Once the market is built, flower traders in the capital will be able to maintain a cold chain and store unsold flowers in the market centre.
According to people concerned, the project will help prevent 20%-30% of flowers from rotting and increase the supply of quality flowers to both domestic and foreign markets.
The Department of Agricultural Marketing will implement the project named "Strengthening Flower Marketing System through Market Infrastructure, Preservation, and Transport Facilities."
The Public Works Department (PWD) will supervise the construction and the government has already called for a tender on e-Government Procurement (e-GP), to hire contractors for this work.
Dewan Ashraful Islam, deputy director of the Department of Agriculture Marketing and director of the project, said, "Apart from processing flowers, we will try to have cold storage vans here which can help supply flowers to different markets in the capital while maintaining quality."
"I believe the project will increase the demand for our flowers in the domestic and international market," he added.
According to sources, the PWD has set a target of nine months to complete project construction which is expected to cost Tk27.84 crore. The three-storey market centre will accommodate about 350 wholesale flower traders.
Zahir Uddin Md Babor, organizing secretary of the Bangladesh Flower Association, said the market will draw the interest of educated young entrepreneurs to this profession.
He said, "Now flowers are stored like haystacks. This market will change that situation. Maintaining the cold chain in the whole process will create an opportunity to capture the export market."
"We have been asking the government for this since 2014. The initiative has shed some ray of hope for flower traders who have been facing losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic," he added.
"Moreover, if this market is constructed, the social status of traders scattered in places like Shahbag and Sher-e-Bangla Nagar will change. Big investments will come in this sector," he further said.
The government has already brought modern flower processing machines for the market which will be kept on the ground floor, said the Department of Agricultural Marketing.
The new market will be built next to the old market of the Department of Agricultural Marketing in Gabtoli. The two buildings will have a combined space of 55,000 square feet which will be used for wholesale flower trading.
Sher-e-Bangla Nagar Flower Farmers and Traders Cooperative Society Ltd General Secretary, Md Khorshed Alam, said, "Our business has collapsed during Covid-19. Some 170 traders of the association have been struggling to survive."
"I think this initiative will be a great blessing for flower farmers in the future and neglected flower traders across the country will benefit from it," he added.
Gazi Liakot Ali, owner of Laboni Nursery in Jessore, said, "Farmers at the marginal level would also benefit from the initiative. The market will help quality flowers reach customers in a fresh condition."
The country's flower business entered the export market by sending flowers to Saudi Arabia before Eid-ul-Fitr. However, businesses there objected to accepting the flowers due to problems in processing.
Earlier, authorities in Australia declined to receive flowers sent from Bangladesh on a trial basis citing problems in packaging and processing.