Benguet blooms in focus

LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Highland blooms again take center stage for Valentines.

Despite the decrease in production due to the icy cold weather, roses are still the flower to-go-for love day celebrations.

Eddie Aquino, a flower vendor in the La Trinidad Flower Shop said red roses, according to many, symbolize “romantic love”, reason why it has the highest demand every Valentine’s Day making its price higher than any other color of rose, especially during this month.

Aquino said prices of roses started increasing the last week of January and will continue to increase up until the last week of March.

In Bahong, considered the rose capital of the province, roses cost P550 to P600 a dozen wholesale.

Substitute flowers are malaysian mums which cost P130 to P150 a dozen, preferred as a cheaper alternative for a loved one celebrating Valentine's Day.

Roses are either given per piece, by three’s and a dozen. It can also be in bouquet of different flowers usually with aster and baby’s breath wrapped in transparent cellophane with colorful papers and ribbons.

Flowers, farmers said, were unable to grow fully due to the “short day gap” experienced in the recent cold spell with temperatures dipping to as low as 6 degrees here.

When the days are shorter, there is a lesser time for the plants to grow which is why the flowers are also exposed to artificial lighting in order to catch up on their growth.

For the approaching Panagbenga festival, prices of the flowers are expected to grow depending on the demand. The demand of flowers is expected to grow for it has many uses in the festival including in float parades and decorations.

The flower production of the province reached 24,862,467 metric ton in 2011. La Trinidad has the highest contribution with 18,876,650 mt of cutflower production.

Chrysanthemum has the highest production among the flowers with 15,833,455 mt. Fiji flowers are like chrysanthemums because of their physical resemblance but differ in colors.

For 2012, around 31,757,481 mt of flowers were produced by the province with chrysanthemum still having the highest production of 13,273,223 mt and La Trinidad having the highest among the municipalities with 17,221,990 mt flowers produced.

Cut flower farmers here sell their products at the Dimasalang area in Manila.

Benguet supplies flowers heavily to these open markets, aside from highland vegetables.

Growers supply flowers in Metro Manila, Ilocos Region, and Bicol Region. (With reports from Ina Mitiam, UPB Intern)
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