Rose producers from Kazanlak and surrounding towns and villages in Bulgaria's Rose Valley, stage a protest against the low purchase prices of rose flowers, on the road between Stara Zagora and Kazanlak on May 22, 2018. Producers say this year's rose purchase price has fallen from 3 to 5 leva BGN (currently about $1.80 to $3 USD) per kilogram in previous seasons, to just 2 leva BGN (currently about $1.20 USD) per kilogram - half of which they use to pay their rose-pickers, and use much of the rest for costs related to cultivating roses. Rose distilleries have refused to buy some of the producers' rose yield due to what they say is an inability to process any extra in an over-saturated market, with more and more rose gardens popping up each year. Some rose producers say they suspect the distilleries have instead colluded to lower the purchase prices of roses across the valley, and say they'd like the government to regulate the entire chain between producers and processors, setting a contractual minimum purchase price via a Rose Act. Bulgaria‚Äôs Minister of Agriculture, Rumen Porozhanov, has announced he is indeed considering a law on oil-bearing roses - and perhaps other essential oil crops, like lavender.
Photo by: Yana Paskova for National Geographic Traveler