REQUIRING only a small plot of land and little capital investment, the cut flower business could be a vibrant trade for women in the Gold Ridge community.
Jan Hintze, a Darwin-based cut flower expert, has led a workshop targeting mothers and daughters from all over the Gold Ridge catchment.
The mixed bunch heard about the different flower varieties available in the region, germinating seeds, keeping plants well nourished, looking after flowers in bad weather, when to cut flowers and arranging styles.
They were lured to the weeklong course by the prospect of turning a profit from their gardens.
A bouquet can fetch up to $50 at Honiara’s central market.
Ms Hintze believes cut flowers could be a good way for women to earn money for their families without taking too much time away from their household duties.
The workshop focused on growing different varieties, but also offered ideas for commercialising the colourful crops.
“One of the challenges they may have is transporting the flowers to market,” she said.
But the flower grower’s experience running workshops across the Pacific has led her to believe that there are many ways to sell flowers.
“In a village in Fiji, for example, women who live far from the centre of town have set up their own small roadside stall just for their cut flowers. And they do well,” she told the women.
The course was hosted by GRML’s Community Relations Department as part of the company’s aim to sustainably develop the region’s economy.
Ruth Liloqula, Superintendent of Community Relations, said the workshop was a good start and a way for the women to get a sense of the possibilities and the challenges.
“We do not want to raise expectations. What we need is sustainable economic development for the relocated families and the families in the catchment area. So that they can support themselves,” Ms Liloqula said.
Floriculture in the Solomon Islands has blossomed since 2006 when the Honiara City Council allotted a specific space for flower sellers at the central market.
Cut flowers are typically used for floral arrangements.
The Australian Council for International Agricultural Research funded Ms Hintze.