Published On: Mon, Dec 28th, 2015

Is floriculture really flourishing?

KASHMIR SCAN, DECEMBER 2015

BILAL HUSSAIN

 

IMG_0958 copyFloriculture sector has seen tremendous growth in past few years so much so that many youths including women have ventured in this sector. At the face of it, the floriculture appears to be lucrative sector to invest in however those who are in the sector have a note of caution for the new ones who are interested in the sector: Don’t be dependent wholly on the government schemes.

Currently, the department of Floriculture maintains more than 275 gardens and parks in Kashmir covering approximately an area of 500 hectares which is pretty decent.  Given the quantum of land involved with this sector, the question that comes to mind is: Are the concerned government agencies doing justices with it? One way to access the productivity is to have economic analysis through cost benefit study and the report card by means of expenditure and revenue statement presents a gloomy picture in terms of revenue realized by the Floriculture Department in Kashmir.

 

Expenditure & Revenue realized by Floriculture Department, Kashmir


S. No
Year Allocation
(Rs. in lacs)
Expenditure
(Rs. in lacs)
Revenue Realized (Rs.in lacs)
1 2009-10 1576.00 1512.95 258.60
2 2010-11 1200.00 1153.00 199.38
3 2011-12 1250.00 1063.13 369.57
4 2012-13 1250.00 0991.67 406.26
5 2013-14 1051.57 1047.376 549.36
6 2014-15
(Ending Nov., 2014)
956.10 317.892 446.95

Source: J&K State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC)

 

Though the government boosts about is that floriculture sector has been in focus and accorded a top priority, however, the ground realities are altogether different. “Income of farmers from flower cultivation has seen a phenomenal jump due to ever growing demand for flowers in domestic and international markets this sector is generating employment,” the government claims. Till date the steps taken by the government to promote the floriculture have not yielded the desired results.

Giving facts Director, Floriculture Department, Kashmir Talat Parvez said that in the Kashmir Division 1593 units are registered with the department. The Department possess eleven refrigeration Vans to cater whole J&K and have two cold storages one at Rajbagh and other at Polo Ground that is supposed to accommodate produce of about 100 farmers at a time. “We have total 400 tons of flower produces in the Kashmir division and it could have grown considerable however, last year devastating floods marred us,” Talat Parvez make a mention.

 

According to Talat Parvez the state is away from the major flora mandies and it is costlier affair to transport the produce through air. To address these issues the department is bringing together small farmers together to form societies so that produce in the bulk will be transported through air and we will also take up the matter with the airlines to get it transported at low cost.

In an effort to bring commercialization in the floriculture sector in the recent years, the department of Floriculture through Centrally Sponsored Schemes for Integrated Development of Floriculture has led to the involvement of many farmers. Despite the positive response from public still there are unaddressed challenges with regard to the post-harvest management and marketing.

 

The vital component of commercial floriculture is the postharvest management and marketing, which is a missing link in the whole scheme of things. Some postharvest issues faced by the people associated with this sector are unavailability proper and latest technology; high-cost packaging materials; poor packaging design; and poor infrastructure, including cold storage chains. Floriculture marketing is hindered by limited markets, underdeveloped local markets, insufficient market research and market information databases, insufficient marketing structure, underdeveloped market niches, and little market promotion by the government agencies.

CEO, United Floritech, Rubeena Tabassum, has been associated with the sector from over 10 years. While sharing her concerns about the sector she has some suggestion for the Department to flourish the commercial floriculture in the state: “The department could incentivize the required infrastructure for the farms which is costlier like heating system and the refrigerate Vans should be made functional in all the districts.”

 

According to her importing of the bulbs for the infamous Tulip garden could be done away with and the same amount can be used to grow these bulbs through small farms in the valley.

Otherwise, the floriculture has a vast scope and potential to not only flourishing this sector but contribute significantly to the economy of J&K. An extra bit of an effort by the concerned department through liberal finances and technical assistance, and above all providing post-harvest facilities for the benefit of the growers would usher the flower business in the state.

 

 

About the Author

Ajaz Rashid

- Ajaz Rashid is a renowned journalist writing on Politics, conflict, Business, Society, Health etc in Jammu and Kashmir over the last 10 years.

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