Southwestern business hub of Bangladesh – Jessore – is known for single largest supplier of the country’s total fresh vegetable and fish fry stocks. But often we remain oblivious about another fact that Jessore can also boast as the biggest contributor of nation’s commercial floriculture.
Jessore florists now produce and meet almost 80 percent of the country’s total commercial flower demand. They grow flowers worth over Tk. 100 crore a year. Some 18 kilometres of Jessore headquarters towards bordering Benapole road – Godkhali Bazaar – is the largest wholesale flower market in the country.
The history of commercial farming of flowers in Jessore dates back to 1983 when florist Sher Ali Sardar of Panisara village under Jhikargachha thana initiated the move by growing flowers on a small patch of land. Now anyone going by the quiet neighbourhoods of Jhikargachha as well as four other thanas in the district would not miss a glimpse of colourful flower varieties spanning over 850 hectares of land.
Despite tremendous success of Jessore florists there cases have never been in national limelight. Little could they do in wooing the policymakers on the problems like dearth of good seeds, lack of technological expertise and above all, non-availability of credit facilities from formal banking system.
Until recently they remained largely depended on non-formal high interest credit system that they hardly afford. The loan repayment mechanism is not at all friendly to the cash-crunch florists, as the NGOs providing credit want the payback installments right from the very next week of loan disbursement.
Thanks to a Katalyst intervention implemented through a development organization –
Management and Resources Development Initiative (MRDI) that catered business journalism orientation to many Jessore journalists, who work for both local and national media outlets – print and broadcast.
Credit goes to Katalyst and MRDI that Jessore newsmen are now far well off in terms of picking up issues and projecting the businesses under media spotlight.
And, Jessore’s burgeoning floriculture sector is one good example of how businesses getting benefited out of good business journalism.
As part of their series of interactions with various business sectors in Jessore and subsequent field visits, some of the newsmen in Jessore had an in-depth understanding on the socio-economic dynamics of commercial floriculture of Jessore.
They gave a good coverage of the floriculture both in local and national media drawing attention of different stakeholders. The state-run BASIC Bank has just recently sent its appraisal team to explore potentials of opening branch in Jessore’s floral hub and providing credit to the florists.
Besides, Jessore flower growers also have problems of sourcing quality flower seeds and access to latest floriculture technology. They do deserve good attention from the government’s concerned agricultural departments and supports to open up export avenues too.
With media focusing these issues in a much better and convincing way than ever before, Jessore florists are hopeful of a brighter future.
Pioneer Sher Ali Sardar reckons that floriculture will further spread provided banks provide them loans in easy terms. He also points out the needs for setting up of a specialized cold storage at Godkhali by the government and introduction of freezer vans for transportation of flowers grown in Jessore to other districts.