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Indian Floriculture Industry Present status & scope

After liberalization, the Govt. of India identified floriculture as a sunrise industry and accorded it 100 percent export oriented status. Owing to steady increase in demand of flower floriculture has become one of the important Commercial trades in Agriculture. Hence commercial floriculture has emerged as hi-tech activity-taking place under controlled climatic conditions inside greenhouse. Floriculture products mainly consist of cut flowers, pot plants, cut foilage, seeds bulbs, tubers, rooted cuttings and dried flowers or leaves. The important floricultural crops in the international cut flower trade are rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, gargera, gladious, gypsophila, liastris, nerine, orchids, archilea, anthuriu, tulip, lilies.

Present status and growing trade is still in infancy. Floriculture in India, is being viewed as a high growth Industry. Commercial floriculture is becoming important from the export angle. The liberalization of industrial and trade policies paved the way for development of export oriented production of cut flowers. The new seed policy had already made it feasible to import planting material of international varieties.

The government of India offers tax benefits to new export oriented floriculture companies in the form of income-tax holidays and exemption from certain import duties. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority ( APEDA), responsible for export promotion and development of floriculture in India, grants subsidies for establishing cold storage, precooling units, refrigerated vans and green houses, and air freight subsidy to exports. It has been found that commercial floriculture has higher potential per unit area than most of the field crops and is therefore a lucrative business.

According to a report of the APEDA, the total area under flower crops was estimated around 34,000 hectares, which included 24,000 hectares under traditional flowers such as marigold, jasmine, aster, rose, chrysanthemum, tuberose and 10,000 hectares under modern flowers like cornation, rose, gerbera, gladiolous, anthurium.

Returns from floricultural products were estimated at Rs.205 Crores, which included Rs.105 Crores from traditional and Rs. 100 Crores from modern flowers. The data collected by National Horticultural Board

(NHB) (1994-95) show that estimated area and production were 53,000 hectares and 4 lakh tonnes. In 1995-96, there were mainly 230 export-oriented units in India. More than 50% of the floriculture units are based in South zone mainly in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu. Also West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan have large areas under floriculture. The domestic flower production goes on increasing annually. Technical collaborations with foreign companies have been approved for India, in order to increase total share in the floriculture world trade.

Conductive conditions:

India is endowed with diverse agro-climatic conditions like good quality soils, suitable climate, abundant water supply, low labour cost, proximity to market in Japan, Russia, South-East Asia, Middle-East Countries.

Subsidy on airfreight for export of cut flowers and tissue-cultured plants is allowed by the Government. Freight rates are Rs.10 per kg for export to Europe and Rs. 6 per Kg for export to West Asia, SouthEast Asia whichever is less.

Import duties have been reduced on cut flowers, flower seeds, tissue-cultured plants, etc. Setting up of walk in type cold storage has been allowed at the International airports for storage of export produce.

Direct subsidy upto 50 percent of the precooling and cold storage units is available, as well as subsidy for using improved packaging material is given by APEDA.

Eleven-model floriculture centre units and two large centres, 20 tissue culture units have been established by Ministry of Agriculture.

Refinance assistance is available from NABARD to a number of hi-tech units at reasonable interest rate.

Export constraints:

In spite of an abundant and varied production base, India’s export of floricultural product is not encouraging. The low performance is attributed to many constraints like non-availability of air space in major airlines, since most of the airline operators prefer heavy consignments.

The existing number of flights during the peak seasons is not sufficient for export purpose.

Exporters for infra-structural problems like bad interior road, inadequate refrigerated transport and storage facilities. Lack of professional backup of delivery and supporting companies, which resort into high cost of technology for Indian entrepreneurs. Tedious Phyto-sanitary certification and an unorganized domestic market.

In order to overcome these problems, attention must be focussed on –

Reduction in import duty on planting material and equipment.

Airfreight should be reduced to a reasonable level. Sufficient cargo space may be provided in airlines. Establishment of model nurseries far supplying genuine planting material.

Co-operative florist organizations should be established at regional level. Training centres for diploma course on the pattern of ITI for training the personnel in floriculture should be set up.

Exporters should plan and monitor effective quality control measures right from production to post harvesting, storage, and transportation. An analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities of the floricultural industry shows that India has immense potential for export of floricultural products.

Though the global floriculture industry is growing comparatively at a faster pace than in India, still a scope exists to bridge the demand and supply gap.