SUNGAI BULOH, Feb 6, 2016:

The citrus lime tree is a must have in every home during the Chinese New Year as it symbolises luxury and prosperity for the new year.

But there is no prosperity or ong for citrus lime tree traders this year as a result of the economic crisis hitting the country.

Lot 54 nursery owner Weng Thye said a better marketing strategy was needed to stem losses.

“This year, we booked our orders earlier as a way to beat the competition, and also to reduce the number of unsold trees.

“Nowadays, many businesses are not that profitable, and so we rather stock up earlier and we start the promotional activity in January while the Chine New Year is still not that near.

“The citrus lime tree sales are really slow this year as people are afraid to spend because of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), but there’s nothing we do except to sell cheaply so that we can at least clear the stock,” said Weng Thye, whose nursery is located near Sungai Buloh.

A nursery worker, Ibrahim Khalid, also agreed that the GST was affecting the sales of citrus lime trees even though it has always been a must have item for the festive season.

“People do not buy as much as they used to, they all complain that GST had made things much more expensive.

“If we want to make more sales and make any profit at all, we have to give discounts, at least 20%.

“Even with discounts, people still ask for lower price, but we can’t help it as the cost price has increased,” said Ibrahim, who had been in the industry for eight years now.

Apart from citrus lime trees, ornamental trees, such as chrysanthemum and bamboo, are also the highlight during Chinese New Year as the plants symbolise long life and good luck.

The plants are usually given a touch of artistic creativity to enhance its attractiveness as display items during the festive season.

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