Nursery business in the country has turned around amid the Covid-19 pandemic as people have been more inclined towards green nature after facing the devastating effects of the virus.
As a result, sales of nurseries have increased over the last four months compared to the same period last year.
Nursery owners said the pandemic has been a blessing for their business.
The first Covid-19 case was diagnosed in the country on 8 March. Then, a nationwide general holiday was declared from 26 March to 30 May. The number of buyers increased in the nurseries after the end of the general holidays.
According to the latest estimation, there are more than 18,000 registered nurseries in the country. And the investment in this sector is more than Tk2,000 crore. About five lakh people are directly and indirectly involved in this sector
Kabir Hossain, director (horticulture wing) of the Department of Agricultural Extension, told The Business Standard, "According to the latest estimation, there are more than 18,000 registered nurseries in the country. And the investment in this sector is more than Tk2,000 crore. About five lakh people are directly and indirectly involved in this sector."
However, according to the Bangladesh Nursery Owners' Association, the number of nurseries currently registered in the country is more than 12,000.
Most nurseries in Dhaka are located in: Savar, Uttara, Agargaon, Bashundhara residential area's 300 feet, Rayer Bazar, Dhanmondi, Ashulia, Kurmitola, Bailey Road, the Curzon Hall and Shishu Academy area, Mohakhali, and Mohammadpur Town Hall.
Naser Hussain, owner of Hussain Nursery in Uttara, Dhaka, said, "Business was very bad during the general holidays. Only those who live next to my nursery were my buyers at that time. However, sales have increased significantly since the beginning of July. Nowadays, trees worth Tk25,000-30,000 are being sold daily."
Nursery owners said the trees that have seen an increase in sales are: orange, papaya, guava, lemon, gooseberry, grapefruit, Malay apple, lotkon, and different types of flower plants.
Mainul Islam, owner of Hakikat Nursery in Agargaon, told The Business Standard, "Business is going well now. Trees worth Tk25,000-35,000 are being sold daily."
SM Shah Alam, a resident of Bailey Road, was buying trees in front of a nursery in the Curzon Hall area. He said he bought hybrid lemon, guava, Chinese orange, gooseberry, and watermelon trees.
"I live in a government house. I have gardened in front of the building and on the roof. I will plant these trees there. I go to the tree fair every year. Since it didn't happen this time, I came to the nursery myself," said Shah Alam.
A month-long National Tree Fair has been held in Dhaka in June every year for more than a decade. About one crore saplings and trees worth Tk30-35 crore are sold at this fair every year. But this year the fair did not happen due to the pandemic which is a great financial loss for the nursery owners.
Meanwhile, nursery traders said tree sales have increased by 20 percent during the pandemic compared to the same period of the previous year as people have been more interested in greening their houses than before.
Tree sales have increased by 20 percent during the pandemic compared to the same period of the previous year
Nazrul Kabir, general secretary of Bangladesh Nursery Owners Association, said, "We have not received any help from the government or anyone else during the pandemic. The traders have slowly moved forward with their business on their own. That's great news for our sector."
He said, "Most of the nursery owners laid off a large portion of their staff in May due to the crisis. They had no choice because it was difficult to keep the business afloat."
The flowering season lasts from November to January each year. In winter, the nursery is full of flowers. In this season the sales of flowering plants increased. From June to August is the time of the rainy season. It is also the season of fruit. The sales of fruit trees increase in this season.
SM Shahnewaz Momtaz Chowdhury, senior manager (nursery) at Brac's head office, said, "Corporate offices, NGOs and general buyers usually buy trees from us. But corporate sales have dropped by 50% due to Covid-19. The sales at NGOs have dropped by 40 percent."
"However, ordinary buyers have bought 30 percent more trees this year compared with the same period of the previous year," he added.