The floriculture industry

The floriculture industry comprises of:

  • The florist trade of traditional and contemporary cut flowers and cut foilage, both fresh and dried and value-added products like bouquets, floral baskets, flower arrangements and garlands.

  • The plant nursery for propagation and supply of plant material including tissue culture plants, seeds, bulbs, corms and other propagated material.

  • Plant rental service for supply of house plants on annual rent for a specific period.

  • Flower perfume and gulkand.

The area under flower crops is around 53,000 acre. Of the total area more than half is under traditional crops jasmine, scented rose, small flowered chrysanthemum, tuberose, crossandra and aster. The annual growth rate of domestic trade in floriculture products is estimated to be 15-20%.

Consumption of flowers in the southern States is much higher than in the northern States. During the last few years there has been drastic change in flower trade of modern flowers in Bombay, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow and Calcutta.

A major growth, of course, has been in the production of cut flowers for exports. More than 150 export-oriented units (EQUs) have been approved by the Government and are coming up in different parts of the country, particularly around Pune, Chandigarh, Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad. Some of them have started in full production and have started exporting their products. A majority of these are being set up with the collaboration of foreign technology and infrastructural support. A modest estimate of investment made in this sector is around Rs.1,500 crores so far, of which Rs.55 crores is in foreign investment (as up to June 1995). All this growth is a recent phenomenon following introduction of economic liberalisation in 1991, which makes the growth look quite significant.

Problems of Floriculture Industry:

A few of the general bottlenecks associated with the development of floriculture industry in India are as follows:-

  1. At present, the cultivation of flowers in greenhouses is dependent on foreign technology, as we are yet to establish our indigenous technology. The initial investment is, therefore, very high. Even the equipments are required to be imported.

  2. Flowers are highly perishable in nature and therefore when grown in a controlled environment, they need to be transported in similar conditions to maintain their quality and freshness. For this, refrigerated vans for road transport and adequate warehousing space at airport till they are loaded in the aircraft, are required. There is dearth of warehousing space at the airports.

  3. Cut flowers are to be stored at a temperature of 2-4 degree centigrade even during transit in air cargo. Limited availability of cargo space in planes for the bulky products like flowers is a drawback. The certification procedures related to phytosanitary and custom formalities are tedious. There is no direct air service from India to flower marketing areas like Amsterdam,Copenhagen, etc. This results in inordinate delay in sending consignments to these areas.

  4. High air freight in our country and inadequate cargo space for flowers are the twin problems to be sorted out with Air India. Incidentally, peak season for flowers, i.e. December to February, coincides with that of garment exports from India.

  5. The growers do not get sufficient information about export market trends, demands, prices, consumer preferences, etc.

  6. The procurement cost of flowers by exporters is very high due to low productivity and high transport charges. The production units are small and scattered and there are no proper linkages between producers, processors and exporters.

  7. Floriculture is a capital-intensive industry with long gestation period. For example, the cost of grading centre is Rs.6.5 lakh, a good refrigerated van may cost Rs.5 lakh and pre-cooling unit around Rs.5.5 lakh. Per hectare capital cost would be Rs.1.75 crore to Rs.2.25 crore. Availability of adequate finance is a problem.

Steps taken by Government to increase Flower Export:

  • The Government of India is working hard at getting the European Community (EC) to reduce the high rate of import duty on Indian Cut Flowers. According to Commerce Ministry, the current rate of import duty is fixed at 20% and 15% according to season.

  • To further promote the Floriculture, the commerce Ministry is contemplating duty exemption on the import of materials for Green House and Tissue Culture Labs considering the huge capital inputs.

  • The Government is also working out a Scheme to impart training to the Farmers and Entrepreneurs.

  • Setting up of cold storage unit at International Airports.

  • The Government is working for an air freight subsidy for export of Cut Flowers and exemption of export oriented units from requirements of customs bonding.

  • APEDA is planning to step up Flower exports to West Asia and make an entry into the market in Australia and New Zealand.

  • Farmers are allowed to sell even upto 50% of their produce in domestic market.

  • The total quarantine procedures have been simplified and made easy for the expeditious clearance, for the import of seeds and planting materials.

  • Imports permit for flower Seeds and Tissue Culture materials of Plant origin has been waived.

  • Import duty on Floriculture planting material has been reduced from 55% to 10%.

  • Import duty of Seed development machineries and specified goods for Green House has been brought down from 136% to 25%.

  • Import duty on pre-cooling units and refrigerated transport units has been reduced to 25%.

  • Floriculture units can avail of the benefits of duty free imports if they export 50% of their production.

  • For export of Tissue Culture Plants, and Cut Flowers by air, subsidy on air freight has been allowed upto a maximum of 25% of the international freight rate.

  • The Central Government has plans for setting up model Floriculture Regional Centres at Chennai, Bangalore,,Trivandrum, Pune, Lucknow, Calcutta, Mohali, Srinagar and Gangtok to conserve important varieties of masamoth Flower crops of the Region and arrange for large-scale multiplication.

Organised Training and demonstration on various aspects of Floriculture and post harvest management.

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