Daily Express
INDEPENDENT NATIONAL NEWSPAPER OF EAST MALAYSIA
Established since 1963
Rose prices in KK hit the roof

Published on: Friday, February 14, 2014

Kota Kinabalu: Valentine's Day and Chap Goh Mei - regarded the Chinese version of Valentine's - falls today in the Year of the Horse.

Edible flowers, branded chocolates and Yee Sang plate servings decorated like flowers are the rage this year with more orders.

"While costly, you can have your flowers and eat them, too, to get your money's worth," muses Simon Lee, at a florist outlet.

Roses are still the flower of choice with orders starting to pour in as early as December despite the price of a bouquet skyrocketing as V-day creeps nearer. It is one occasion when Sabah would experience a cash outflow as florists interviewed by Daily Express revealed having to search farther for supplies, when places like Kundasang should easily have been able to play a part in import-substitution.

A florist's partner, Reduan Charles Jr Armstrong, said the high price is quite normal because of the demand for rose bouquets at this time of the year. "We normally import our flowers from China. However, due to Chinese New Year, we had to resort to importing roses from places such as the Netherlands, Africa and India.

"This means higher freight charges," he said, adding more unconventional flowers like lilies, gerberas and Africa daisies are also in demand. "But 90 per cent of the time, people will opt for roses."

Besides flowers, trimmings such as teddy bears and chocolates are also considered a must.

Some even attach jewellery with their ordered bouquet to be sent to their loved ones.

"Valentine's Day is not just for lovers. We also receive orders to be sent to parents from their children. Some customers have been coming for three generations," he said.

"A twelve-stalk bouquet would cost around RM200 while a half-dozen bouquet, RM150," he said, adding that prices were lower before the actual day.

Another florist, Mdm Magena, said the higher price of roses is hitting small-time florists like her hard.

The housewife, who conducts her business from home, said this year, she could only cater for her friends and families as price of roses kept increasing since early last week.

"A stalk is sold as high as RM8. I am selling a decorated stalk at merely RM10.

Lucky for me, I managed to get some good ones at RM3 but now, the same shop is selling at RM4.50 a stalk," she lamented.

"I was not aware of the price changes until I went to Lido last weekend," she said.

However, while some think sending flowers on V-day is a waste of money, the tradition would not go away anytime soon as both florists said demand continues to rise.