Indian farmers must reap benefits of booming floriculture

Dr Shivendra Bajaj

Flowers are used on a large scale for religious rituals, celebrations, party decorations, gifting, extractions for fragrance and aromatherapy, for herbal and medicinal purposes too. The demand for ornamental flowers is on the rise as people are spending a good amount on improving aesthetic value. There is a huge scope for exporting flowers too as the demand in the global international market is increasing. Indian farmers must see floriculture as an important agricultural activity that can enhance their remuneration significantly . Government schemes can be used by farmers to build the required infrastructure to grow flowers with higher returns and even to process and export them.
The value of the global floriculture market was USD 49 billion in 2020, and with an annual growth rate of 6 percent, it is expected to reach USD 70 billion by 2026. More than 90 percent of demand comes from the developed countries in Europe, America and Asia. Indiahas exported 15,695.31 MT of floriculture products to the world,which is worth 77.84 USD Million (Rs. 575.98 Crores) in 2020-21.Increasingly, Indian farmers are exporting flowers, especially roses that meet international standards. Floriculture is market-driven and a specialised agro-industry. India can produce almost all varieties of exotic flowers due to the different agro-climatic zones and it makes a conducive environment for the cultivation of sensitive and delicate floriculture products.Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu , Rajasthan , West Bengal have emerged as major floriculture centers in India.
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) too has asserted that floriculture has the potential to double farm income. In India, a majority of farmers are small and marginal, which means they do not hold land more than five acres. The small landholding is not considered good for agriculture production. However, it comes as an advantage for floriculture due to its low volume high value character. Besides the diverse and adequately favourable climatic conditions, India has a few more advantages over other countries. Labouris cheaper and cost of production is also low.
Floriculture is a labour-intensive industry and can be a great tool to create employment opportunities for the rural population. As it is environment-friendly with zero pollution, it can help develop the local rural economy and also offer high chances of earning foreign exchange through exports. In addition, production of flower seeds, creation of new ornamentals flowers like cut flowers and pot plants can help in additional earnings.
There have been serious efforts by the government to improve the floriculture sector. It has allowed 100 percent Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in floriculture.FDI helps in forging international collaborations, joint ventures, facilitate the introduction of modern technology and infrastructure in the country. Moreover, subsidies are given on air-freight for the export of cut-flowers and to set up supply chain infrastructures such as cold storages, pre-cooling units, refrigerated vans, greenhouses and packaging material. Institutions like the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) are coming up with schemes to encourage farmers to go for floriculture and to create a conducive environment for exports by identifying key agri-export zones.
Some farmers in India have adopted floriculture in poly-houses, and they are earning up to Rs 1 lakh per month. Poly-houses can help farmers grow any variety of flowers irrespective of local weather, season pattern and climatic conditions. Farmers can avail benefits of up to 85 percent subsidy on poly-houses to switch to the high-return business of floriculture. There can be skill-learning for growing ornamental flower and pot plants, and even for the cultivation of dry flower cultivation to create products like cards, wall pieces, table decoration pieces, potpourri. Floriculture assures better income at the production stage as well as at the post-harvest processing stage. Indian farmers must reap the benefits of the booming floriculture industry.

—The author Executive Director, Federation of Seed Industry of India and Alliance for Agri Innovation

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