Flowers play such an integral role in human culture.
Making an appearance in almost every major moment in a personâ€™s life; from birthdays to funerals, from graduation to marriages, and from being mere decorations and adornments to being used for religious and worship purposes.
Nothing can be made into a more symbolic gesture of love, affection and appreciation than a simple blooming bouquet of flowers.
But being such a precious commodity does mean that these festive, fragrant, floral features can be very sensitive to changes in the market.
The fault in our flowers
The reason behind this inflation can be attributed to a number of factors, from supply and demand issues during peak seasons and price gouging, to more global issues like foreign exchange rates, to climate change and natural disasters.
This added with the fact that flowers are difficult to grow, delicate, hard to transport and perishable makes fluctuating prices a norm.
For 2020, local florists had expected the price of high demand flowers like roses and chrysanthemums to go up due to limited supply.
According to the Cameron Highlands Flower Association, Cameron Highlands in Pahang – one of the countryâ€™s primary flower producers – only supply about 25% of all the roses in the Malaysian market.
To keep up with demand, roses and other flowers are usually imported from other countries like China, India and Kenya.
According to the Malay Mail, the cost of roses for Valentineâ€™s season in KL can currently go between RM30 to RM40 compared to the off-season price of RM15 to RM30 for a bundle of 20 uncut flowers.
Floriculture in Malaysia and a blooming global market
Floriculture is an agricultural practice that focuses primarily on the cultivation of flowering plants for personal and commercial use.
For centuries the Netherlands has been at the heart of the global floriculture industry, dominating the trade in importing and re-exporting some 40% of the planetâ€™s flowers.
But in recent years, other nations such as Ecuador, Colombia, Kenya and Malaysia have weeded their way into the market.
In 2018, Malaysia stands among the top 10 floriculture industry players, growing 1% of the total global share of the worldâ€™s flowers and one of the planetâ€™s major flower exporters.
The countryâ€™s floriculture market for that same year was valued at around RM360 million and is expected to grow by up to 3% in the next 5 years.
This growth can be attributed to Malaysiaâ€™s National Agricultural Policy (NAP) as well as the National Agrofood Policy to establish the country as a global centre for tropical floriculture products.
Because of Malaysiaâ€™s tropical climate and topography, the country focuses on 2 main groups of floral cultivation; temperate flowers like chrysanths and carnations which are grown at the nationâ€™s highlands, as well as exotic flowers like orchids, that thrive in hot and humid lowlands.
Flowers grown in the country are shipped off to Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Australia, China and Saudi Arabia.
Like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Akmal returns to the newly improved TRP to uncover cold truths and walk the fine line between deep and dumb.