Cameron Highland Malaysia is one of the places in the country where flowers used to sell in millions in spring season. In fact, the flower farmers start to grow flowers from November to December so that the flowers will bloom just in time for the country’s festivities and special occasions. But this year, things have changed. The sales that should have been earned by the local farmers and flower growers ended up in waste. Because of the Coronavirus pandemic, the flower industry in Cameron Highland Malaysia suffered a major loss.
Sales Dropped to Zero
During normal days, around 150 flower farms in Cameron Highland and nearby areas can produce from 80 tons to 100 tons of fresh-cut flowers on a daily basis. It is worth one million Malaysian Ringgits. More than 5,000 farmers and farm workers earn a living from the flower industry in Cameron Highlands. Some of them were from Indonesia, Myanmar, and Bangladesh.
However, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, flower sales were dropped to zero. Farmers and flower growers were not allowed to tend the farms because of lockdown restrictions, leaving the blooms dried and wilted. Some flowers that were harvested were headed to the landfill as wasted products or to the animal farm and used as animal feeds. It was devastating for these hard-working farmers to see their flowers went to waste as orders and demands for flowers dropped to zero.
Flower Shops Closed
Flower shops were usually busy during the first quarter of the year because people demand more fresh cut flowers for various occasions and festivals celebrated in the country. The farmers doubled the number of flower seeds they planted before the year begins as they expect more orders of fresh cut flowers will pour down in April for the Tamil New Year. But because of the global pandemic and the 21-day lockdown, hundreds of flower shops across the country were closed. The flowers that were intended to be offered at the altar on festivities were brought to the animal farms.
The bright yellow blooms of Marigolds and other flowers that bloom abundantly during the first quarter of the year were thrown across the streets so that the cattle will feed on them. It is a good thing that some farm owners who have a herd of cattle opt to buy the wilting flowers to feed the animals. It may be better to see those animals enjoying the flowers than to see the gorgeous blooms rotting at the landfill. Sadly, the flower industry loss millions of money because of the pandemic.
Flower Orders Declined
People used to celebrate Holy Week, Easter Sunday, Songkran, Tamil New Year, Wesak Day, and other traditional and religious festivals during the first and second quarters of the year. In all these celebrations, fresh-cut flowers were used as a major elements in decorating the altars and the tables.
However, due to the quick spread of the coronavirus, people were restricted to go out and gather in public. The government also imposed that everyone should stay at home to stop the spread of the infection. In connection with the restrictions, most of the celebrations and gatherings were canceled, thus orders for fresh flowers were declined. The decline in orders and demands for fresh cut flowers brought less or zero compensation to the flower shop owners, florists, and local flower farmers.
Flower Transportation Prohibited
The first and second quarters of the year are the best time to tour around Malaysia. The country is a beautiful place to visit during this time of the year because of the sunny weather and because of the picturesque sights of nature and flower fields. But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Malaysia banned travellers to and from the country.
In line with the government’s effort to stop the spread of virus infection, tourists and foreigners were not allowed to enter the borders of Malaysia, and likewise, those who want to go out of the country were prohibited. Airports were also closed and all flights were cancelled. Because of this, transportation of flowers to and from the country was also not allowed. It is one of the reasons why millions of flowers and blooms were left wilted.
Flower Delivery Restricted
Flowers were one of the best gifts one can send or give to a celebrant in Malaysia no matter what the occasion is. You can see flower deliveries coming in and out of the street throughout the day. But when the government called for Movement Control Order across the nation, only those who work for essential items were allowed to move, and flower delivery was considered non-essential item. Even though the lockdown lasted for a couple of weeks only, yet its impact in the flower industry was a real major blow.
Flowers, like Jasmine, Marigolds, Roses, Lotus, Lilies, and Chrysanthemums that are popular in Malaysia have been used as an essential element for weddings, parties, celebrations, festivities, and interior decoration. You can even find the bright flowers at the altars and temples across Malaysia. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, these flowers were wasted as the country was placed under stricter lockdown measures to contain the spread of the virus infection. Millions of flowers were wasted and millions of money were lost, but the entire country, along with the flower industry, is hopeful that the pandemic will come to an end soon, so that the business can rise up again and return to the normal trend.