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1384.6 - Statistics - Tasmania, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/09/2002   
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Feature Article - Tasmanian cut flower industry

Contributed by the Tasmanian Floricultural Association

Commercial quantities of flowers have been grown for many years in Tasmania. Until fairly recently, the emphasis has been on what are now called ‘traditional lines’ such as roses, carnations and chrysanthemums.

However, the industry has expanded as increasing numbers of people who had grown flowers for gardening pleasure began to realise how well some types of flowers grew in Tasmania. Also, some people who had traditional farming operations and were looking to diversify also saw flower growing as an opportunity to increase their income. The Flower Industry Association of Tasmania provides a forum for commercial flower growers to promote the industry and to meet and discuss matters of mutual concern.

AREA PLANTED

A survey conducted by the then Department of Agriculture in 1988 indicated that approximately 35 hectares were planted to flowers. By 1992 this had expanded to approximately 107 hectares, an increase of approximately 300% in 4 years.

FLOWERS PRODUCED

The 1960s and 1970s were dominated by the traditional lines of carnations, roses and chrysanthemums but in the 1980s flowers from bulbs and gypsophila became more prominent and proteas and Australian natives also started to be produced. By 1988 proteas and Australian natives as a combined group had the greatest percentage of the area planted followed by narcissus, carnations, other bulbs (mainly gladioli, alstroemeria, and zantedeschia) and gypsophila.

Since that time there has been a significant change in the composition of the types of flowers produced for sale in Tasmania. In 1992 more than half the area of flower plantings was in bulbs, corms and rhizomes, followed by proteaceous plants and Australian natives (20%).

FLOWER PLANTINGS, Tasmania - 1992

Crop
Area (ha)
% of total

Proteaceous plants and Australian natives
21.1
19.7
Bulbs, corms and rhizomes
54.6
51.4
Dried flowers, foliage
4.9
4.6
Fillers (gypsophila, etc.)
7.4
6.9
Traditional lines
18.2
17.0
Total
106.2
100.0

Source: Tasmanian Floricultural Association.

VALUE OF PRODUCTION

It is extremely difficult to make estimates of the value of production on an annual basis for the floriculture industry. This is because there is no central market structure in Tasmania, information on sales volumes and prices is difficult and expensive to collect, and there are direct sales in the industry.

The appropriate basis for comparison of the floriculture industry value with other industries is the farm gate price (the wholesale price less freight and commission).

Studies have concluded that the wholesale value was about $2 million in 1984-85 rising to about $5 million in 1987-88. The wholesale value in 1991-92 has been calculated to have risen to about $11 million.

Approximately 35% of the wholesale price is directed towards commission and freight (commission, 20% and freight, 15%). Hence, the estimated farm gate value of the floriculture industry in Tasmania for 1991-92 is $7.44 million, a very substantial growth since 1987-88.

FARM GATE VALUE OF FLORICULTURE, Tasmania - 1991-92

Crop
Value ($m)

Australian natives
0.10
Carnations
0.60
Chrysanthemums
0.60
Fillers
0.63
Freesias
1.10
Iris
0.73
Liliums
0.54
Narcissus
0.46
Proteaceous plants
0.99
Roses
0.37
Tulips
0.80
Other
0.52
Total
7.44

Source: Tasmanian Floricultural Association.

NUMBER OF GROWERS

Prior to 1980 the Tasmanian floriculture industry was relatively small with few growers. In 1984, when the first Department of Agriculture survey was undertaken, it was estimated that there were only 20 growers with more than 200 square metres of flower production. This had risen to 90 in 1987 and 165 in 1988.

While there are no directly comparable figures, it would seem that there has been little change in the number of growers in the past few years: a few have left and these have been replaced by new entrants to the industry.

MARKET OUTLETS

In 1988 it was estimated by the Department of Agriculture that approximately 75% of all flowers grown in Tasmania were directed into the Tasmanian market. Now some 70% of growers send some flowers into mainland markets-most often Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane-although some flowers are directed to other Australian destinations. Only about 10% of commercial growers direct any flowers to export markets. On the other hand, approximately 20% of commercial growers sell only into the Tasmanian market.

There isn’t a centralised wholesale flower market in Tasmania and the distribution of the growers and size of the local market does not lend itself to this form of marketing.

TRENDS IN THE FLOWER INDUSTRY

There has been a major upsurge in the production of Tasmanian cut flowers in the past few years. Perennial gypsophila and freesias have become major crops alongside carnations, roses and chrysanthemums, while flower bulb crops are gaining in importance and tulip, lilium, nerine and alstroemeria as well as freesia plantings have been established.

Proteaceous plants and Australian natives are presently produced on a small scale; however, there are young plantings that have yet to reach production. Some of these crops include kangaroo paw, Christmas bells, waratah, thryptomene, wax flowers and South African proteas.

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