Editorial: Tapping Floriculture

Just yesterday, Minister for Education Altaf Bukhari inaugurated the renovated Flower Mandi Complex at Rajbagh. The flower Mandi has been set up for the flower growers of Kashmir valley where they can market their products.

Floriculture is a sunrise industry and it has been accorded 100 percent export oriented status. Owing to steady increase in demand of flowers, Floriculture has become one of the important commercial trade in Agriculture.

In the state of Jammu and Kashmir commercial floriculture has emerged as hi-tech activity taking place under controlled climatic conditions. The liberalised economy has given an impetus to the Indian entrepreneurs for establishing export oriented floriculture units under controlled climatic conditions and our state can take a cue and initiate a lead in this field.

Though the state government has recognized the potential of the sector as it already has a separate floriculture department where special funds for the promotion of Floriculture have been setup.

Jammu and Kashmir has suitable agro-climatic conditions for a variety of flowers. The floriculture industry in the state offers a good source of supply to the domestic and international market. There is potential for this activity to be propagated on commercial basis

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.

Besides, the floriculture Industry offers a growth in the sector of aesthetic value flowers 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 can be cultivated at mass level and can be converted into an income generating activity.

The floriculture activity can turn out to be a challanging activity for the young entrepreneurs, provided they are trained fully and advised to introduce new technologies like Hi-Tech poly structures.

Besides, widening knowledge of growers by way of organizing trainings and exposure visits to other States can also bring the desirable results.

However, the government also needs to bring the growers in the state at par with growers in other parts of the country by providing them incentives on the same patter as are being provided to others in the field. For example the disparity in the subsidy component should be 80 percent as against 50 percent, that is otherwise being provided to the growers from the state.

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