Over 65,000 tulip plants are currently in bloom in the country’s first tulip garden “Moumita Flowers” in Gazipur’s Sreepur upazila.
Spreading from the nursery, tulips are now being cultivated in 14 areas of the country, amassing commercial potential.
Delwar Hossain, 50, and his wife, the proprietors of Moumita Flowers, have been successful in cultivating the cold climate favouring flowers in a greenhouse.
They started with 1,100 tulip bulbs in 2020 and later expanded their venture. Currently, there are 5 different colours of over 65,000 tulips blooming in the nursery.
Visitors are flocking to the nursery to see the awe-inspiring view. The couple charges Tk 100 as an entrance fee for the nursery.
Many flower growers of the northern region have started cultivating tulips after being inspired by them. Farmers are buying tulip bulbs from the nursery.
Delwar said they sell both tulip flowers and bulbs. “Local florists and visitors come and buy flowers from us. We also sell bulbs and potted plants. The commercial prospect is looking brighter compared to other years.”
In response to a question, he told The Business Post that, cultivating tulips in our country’s climate is challenging. The flowers are less vibrant this year due to winter being warmer than usual.
“We import different types of bulbs from the Netherlands where the VAT is high. The business can be expanded further if the taxes were reduced,” Delwar said.
According to him, they have no other way but to import the bulbs to continue cultivation. However, due to the high cost of import, they have to sell the plants and flowers for a high price.
“Building storage that can preserve the bulbs properly will require a significant amount of money that farmers like us cannot afford,” he said, adding that they are selling the flowers for a wholesale rate of Tk 70-80 per piece.
The business owner claimed that he employs 30 people in his garden and makes Tk 40 lakh annually.
A visitor, Sonia Sultana from Bartopa village of Mauna union in the upazila said the tulip garden has become a source of pride for the residents. “Many people from outside the district come to visit the hundreds of blooming flowers.”
Bangladesh Agricultural Bank official Shirin Akhtar came to visit the garden from Dhaka. She said the different type of agricultural venture is commendable and should be further explored.
Sanaullah Patwari, a senior forest officer of the Forest Department during his visit to the nursery praised Delwar’s success in being able to cultivate a winter climate favouring flowers.
“The future of tulip cultivation in our country cannot be predicted as the flower is sensitive to temperature. I know the initiative to cultivate tulips has been taken in many areas of the country including Tentulia and Rangamati Hill Tracts,” he said adding that those who want to get involved in tulip cultivation should analyze
the benefit and the potential of loss.
Regarding the cultivation process, Delwar Hossain said the temperature should be lower than 20 degrees celsius during the day and lower than 11 degrees celsius during the night for 20 consecutive days for the bulbs to have a longer lifespan.
Due to the climate of our country, the bulbs only bloom once and cannot be used a second time. It is also rare for new bulbs to grow from the original mother bulb.
The flowers begin to bloom after 23 to 24 days of planting the bulbs and last for about a month and a half. However, as the weather warms up quickly during spring, the flowers do not last long.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni has visited the orchard several times. She said, “I did not think it was possible to cultivate tulips in our country. The farmer put a lot of hard work and passion behind it to make it possible, it is indeed a commendable venture.”
She further said that the government has taken many initiatives to further develop the agriculture sector. “However, we do not yet have the kind of facilities needed to store tulip bulbs here. I expect the agricultural department will look into facilitating the needs of tulip cultivation as it has significant commercial potential,” she said.
Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute (BARI) Chief Scientific Officer and Head of the Flower Department Dr Farzana Nashrin Khan said tulips are popular worldwide for their beauty.
“Our department started a small-scale experiment about seven years ago on tulip bulbs. The main concern of the experiment was to ensure that the bulbs multiply after flowering,” she said adding that as the bulbs are costly, cultivating tulips becomes expensive if the blubs can be used only once.
Farzana further added that the scientists are still working on lengthening the sustainability of the flower bulbs and their future cultivation prospects in the country.
“The northern districts such as Panchagarh, Dinajpur and Thakurgaon are more appropriate for cultivating tulips as those areas remain colder for a long while. I believe tulip cultivation has a good potential in our country if done properly,” she added.