The Bangladesh Flower Fest 2017 promotes the domestic flower industry among urban consumers in Dhaka, celebrating local varieties and producers, and building capacity among value chain actors to respond to urban consumer preferences and demand.
Flower Fest 2017, was scaled up based on the success of Flower Fest 2016, which attracted 10,000 visitors in two days. Flower Fest 2017 attracted over 50,000 visitors in three days, and featured several events and flower art sculptures including a fashion show, a Sisimpur puppet show, cultural program, photo booth, and flower tunnel.
This year, the Flower Fest also recognized and endorsed the role of women in stimulating growth in flower sector. The flower sector offers a unique opportunity to engage female farmers, as women are engaged in many stages of the flower value chain.
Although women are involved in the sector, they are not exposed to the market as much as their male counterparts. Women have a segmented role, focusing only on production or procuring and selling to local traders, typically out of their homes. As a result, women have few opportunities to learn the business context around the flower supply or distribution chain.
USAID’s Agricultural Value Chains Project is working to improve the livelihoods of women both increasing overall incomes in the flower sector by improving business opportunities and creating a more structured supply chain, while also focusing specifically on linking female flower farmers and traders with other female stakeholders and support mechanisms.
As part of this effort, AVC has identified empowered and influential female entrepreneurs in the flower sector, who are taking on more prominent roles in local markets. To build momentum around their influence, AVC sponsored a special pavilion at the Flower Fest, highlighting the businesses of these Jessore-based entrepreneurs.
The pavilion, set up at the center of the event, attracted significant attention from visitors and other fair participants, who lined up to take photos, purchase floral accessories, and hear the stories of the businesswomen. The entrepreneurs were approached by print and TV news media to provide insight into their work and the day’s events.
The participation of these entrepreneurs provided an opportunity for them to connect with other market actors, gain insight into the larger business context, and connect meaningfully with urban consumers. The businesswomen built their understanding of the demand and preferences of urban consumers, helping the entrepreneurs understand how to market and promote their flowers to a new type of consumer.
The businesswomen joined trainings and workshops on bouquet making and production techniques, which not only built their capacity, but also allowed them to interact with other market actors in this sector, gaining insight and forming connections with their peers.
By showcasing the work and success of the female farmers and entrepreneurs, the event helps to increase the leverage that these women have to influence their female peers and break down gender-based biases in the sector.
Flower Fest 2017 supported female flower entrepreneurs by providing training, exposure, and motivation to grow their businesses.