Minister for Education, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari inaugurated the renovated Flower Mandi Complex at Rajbagh.
The Minister was informed that Flower Mandi has been set up for the flower growers of Kashmir valley where they can market their products.
On the occasion the flower growers from various districts had set up their stalls for the sale of their flowers including Rose, Marigold, Lilium, Gladiolus and others.
The Minister was informed that flowers are being grown in Kashmir since long and Floriculture Department has diversified its activities towards growing of flowers on commercial lines.
During last few years, most of the people especially younger generation is showing interest in growing of flowers as their trade and a good number of progressive growers in almost all the districts of the valley have been trading selected cut flowers and other floriculture products outside the State particularly to Delhi market.
Besides this, changes in social values of people, rising expendable incomes and changes in Urbal-Rural population mix; some plant nurseries have come up in the Valley, selling mostly the landscape plants, pot plants and flower seedlings/bulbs.
It was informed that the main focus is given to the flowers with aesthetic value which are used in decorating homes, flowers used in social events such as marriages, social gathering and funerals, as also in religious rituals.
During summer months there is shortage of cut flowers in other parts of country and the flowers produced in valley supplied outside the State markets fetch premium prices particular in Delhi market. Thus main crops like gladiolus, irises, lilies, tulips, Carnations, roses and gerberas are being cultivated as an income generating activity.
The Minister was informed that the department is motivating people to go for this business and technical help is being provided to the growers as per the guidelines of Centrally Sponsored Schemes and other developmental programmes for the benefit of the trade.
The knowledge about production of quality floriculture products like cut flowers, seeds, bulbs and ornamental plants, introduction of new technologies like Hi-Tech poly structures is being imparted to the growers.
Besides, widening knowledge of growers by way of organizing trainings and exposure visits to other States are main key activities of the Floriculture Department Kashmir. Floriculture has their officers in all the 10 districts that provide technical knowhow to the growers.
At present the department maintains more than 275 gardens and parks in Kashmir covering approximately an area of 500 hectares. The number is ever increasing.
A senior flower grower from Ganderbal, Master Ghulam Mohammad Bhat said that the cost of flowers depend on the demand for the product. He said Rose costs between Rs 6 to Rs 9 per flower, Gerbera costs Rs 4 to Rs 6, and Gladiolus costs Rs 3 to Rs 4.
Another flower grower and President of The Bungus Floriculture Co-operative Marketing Ltd Kupwara, Abdul Hameed Thakur said that the Floriculture is a large industry where the unemployed youths of Jammu and Kashmir State can be absorbed provided the problems faced by the growers are addressed by the Government.
He said that it was difficult to work individually with the buyers from other states so under this co-operative, various flower growers are working in coordination with each other. He said that they are likely to start 100 green houses in district Kupwara in the coming months. This Flower Mandi will go a long way in promotion of the products of these growers.
The growers informed the Minister about the inequality meted to the growers of Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of states of country. The flower growers of J &K get the subsidy of 50% while as the rest of country gets 80%.
The Minister said that necessary help will be provided to the flower growers and all their genuine issues will be addressed.