Taiwan’s floriculture industry hit by coronavirus

Government seeking to prop up flower sector by offering bailout assistance, asking people to use floral ornaments

Flowers from Taiwan International Orchid Show at scenic area in Tainan.

Flowers from Taiwan International Orchid Show at scenic area in Tainan. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The government of Taiwan is seeking ways to prop up the island country’s floriculture industry, which has been dealt a heavy blow by the relentless spread of the coronavirus.

A number of floral showcases have been canceled due to the virus, including the annual Taiwan International Orchid Show and the World Orchid Conference. A slump in flower exports is taking place, while domestic demand is also falling.

Trade and Council of Agriculture (COA) Deputy Minister Chen Junne-jih (陳駿季) said a 20 to 30 percent decline in flower sales and prices has been reported and that a bail-out measure will be prioritized for floral products most affected amid the export woes, wrote UDN.

The agricultural authorities will help with marketing campaigns for local farmers. Businesses holding outdoor events are encouraged to use floral decorations, and flower stalls will be set up at supermarkets and retailers to attract consumers, he added.

With floral events postponed or scrapped, Tseng Chun-pi (曾俊弼), secretary-general of the Taiwan Orchid Growers Association (TOGA), believes flower suppliers can utilize online flower-viewing platforms to woo potential buyers. Promotional efforts must be made ahead of the next blossoming season in May and June.

Japan, which is also experiencing hardship with slumping flower sales, has engaged in a promotional campaign that calls on people to embellish their households and office spaces with floral themes that would “lift spirits in a time of despair,” according to its Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.