Economic Threats to Florists in Herat Due to Cold Winter and Rising Poverty
Herat, one of the western provinces of Afghanistan, has experienced a record–breaking cold snap in the winter. This is the most intense cold the city has seen in the past two decades. The severity of the cold has caused significant financial losses for the people of the province, as well as the loss of life. Florists have been particularly affected by the extreme cold in Herat. According to greenhouse owners, the majority of their flowers have been destroyed over the past three months due to the cold. Most flower farmers are concerned about the decrease in the flower market as spring approaches, and they believe that the cold weather and the reluctance of residents to purchase flowers have caused damage to their incomes.
During a conversation with Hasht–e–Subh, Abdul–Hai, one of the greenhouse owners in Herat, stated that there were a variety of flowers in the greenhouse. Unfortunately, the majority of the flowers cultivated in the greenhouse were lost due to the cold winter weather. He further noted that between 60 and 65 percent of the flowers in each greenhouse were damaged.
Abdul–Hai, who had resided in Iran for a period of time, stated that he had only established one flower garden in 2019, but since then he had expanded his greenhouses to five in Herat. He further mentioned that he sells a wide variety of flowers in his greenhouses at prices ranging from 500 to 1,300 AFN. Abdul-Hai also expressed his deep concern regarding the lack of a union for greenhouse owners and the Taliban’s lack of support. “The biggest issue is that we still do not have a union, and when problems arise, we have to face them with great difficulty. There are many flowers in the greenhouse that are worth 500 to 1,300 AFN,” Abdul–Hai said.
Salim, a florist who has been in the business for four years in Herat, stated that the greenhouse farmers in Herat are enduring the winter cold. He expressed his disappointment in the decline of Herat‘s flower business, adding, “We could potentially mitigate the damage by selling the remaining flowers in the most profitable seasons, but people have lost interest in flowers.”
Florists noted that the decrease in flower sales is partially attributable to economic difficulties and a lack of psychological well–being among individuals. Additionally, they stated that tending to one‘s family is more essential for people in the present circumstances than cultivating flowers and seedlings; however, this is not a priority in Afghanistan.
According to reports from international organizations, approximately three–fourths of the Afghan population will require humanitarian assistance in order to survive this year. Additionally, the increase in poverty is attributed to the loss of international aid, the destruction of thousands of jobs, and the collapse of the former Afghan republic regime.
Afghanistan has recently endured a harsh winter. The extreme cold exacerbated the plight of impoverished families. Herat city experienced a greater number of cold–related fatalities this winter in comparison to other provinces of Afghanistan. Data collected indicates that the prolonged cold weather in Herat resulted in at least 100 deaths over the past three months. Drug addicts who resided outdoors without any form of shelter constituted the majority of those who perished from the cold during the previous winter.