The industry’s exports stood at 107 million dollars last year and growers had initially set a higher revenue target of 125 million dollars for 2020, however the coronavirus outbreak shattered their hopes.
Antalya, on the Mediterranean coast, is the centre of flower growing business in Turkey, has been hit particularly hard from the fallout from the pandemic. The growers in the city ship flowers, such as carnations, and gerbera, to a wide range of countries, including the U.K, Germany, Ukraine and Romania.
“The industry is suffering greatly from the pandemic. We even want to distribute flowers for free, but people do not accept this offer out of fear that they may get infected with the virus. The closure of hotels was also another blow to the sector. We had to let the flowers rot,” said İsmail Yılmaz, the Head of Flower Exporters’ Association.
He noted that people gave up on buying flowers in times of hardship as they are perceived as a luxurious item to spend money on.
“Italy and Spain are in bad shape, both in terms of the number of virus cases and the state of their economies. People are not planting and growing flowers in those countries. There are no preparations there for the new season. But Turkey can step in and provide flowers to the local markets in Italy and Spain,” he said.