Dr Danny Donaghy is professor of dairy systems at Massey University and a specialist in pasture agronomy and physiology.
According to a growers’ association, lockdowns in the Auckland and Waikato regions meant florists are unable to open and events like weddings are cancelled or postponed. It says flower growers are finding it difficult to stay afloat.
A spokesperson for United Flower Growers (UFG) says that because flowers were classified as a non-essential item during Alert Level Four, many growers and retailers were unable to trade.
“Being a perishable product, many of these beautiful flowers have had to go in the bin,” they told Hort News.
“This is heart breaking for our growers. Some of our growers may have spent up to 12 months growing these blooms.”
They said the continued Level Three lockdowns in Auckland and the Waikato has had an enormous impact on the cut flower industry nationally.
“Some growers have lost up to half of their yearly income based on the lengthy lockdown.”
With no roadmap out of the Auckland and Waikato lockdowns from the Government, growers are taking a more cautious approach on the volume they pick and send to market.
“Once the product is picked, it only has a short shelf life being a perishable product. This will have a flow on effect to our retailers and ultimately on the end consumer.”
With reduced abilities to sell flowers in a retail setting due to the continued lockdown, the impact is severe.
“Customers who would normally get the experience of walking into a florist and choosing the flowers that they would like in their bouquets are unable to do so. Or customers who are purchasing flowers for special occasions or to mourn the loss of a loved one are unable to do so.”
UFG says it is working with the Government to gain clearer lockdown guidelines for the industry.
“We are strongly advocating for the Government to reassess the cut flower industry and recognising it as an essential item,” it says.
“We believe that if you can purchase cakes and alcohol in lockdown, you should be able to purchase flowers during these times too.
“We believe that in a time where mental health is so prevalent, blooms spark so much joy to people and as such flowers should be classed as an essential item.”