Floriculture: Growing Importance for India

 

Floriculture and its scope

We all know ,Flowers play an essential role in people’s celebrations and every day lives. Weddings, graduations, funerals, Mother’s Day, St. Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas. Being a nature lover , i would like to share some of the interesting facts about the floriculture through this blog, with a hope that the information provided will be useful for those who are thinking of starting a business in floriculture which has tremendous opportunities in the present scenerio. And promise to keep posting about this interesting subject in future also with some more interesting facts of this business

Floriculture, or flower farming, is a discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and forfloristry, comprising the floral industry. The development, via plant breeding, of new varieties is a major occupation of floriculturists.

Floriculture crops include bedding plants, houseplants, flowering garden and pot plants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers. As distinguished from nursery crops, floriculture crops are generally herbaceous. Bedding and garden plants consist of young flowering plants (annuals and perennials) and vegetable plants. They are grown in cell packs (in flats or trays), in pots, or in hanging baskets, usually inside a controlled environment, and sold largely for gardens and landscaping. Pelargonium (“geraniums”), Impatiens (“busy lizzies”), and Petunia are the best-selling bedding plants. The many cultivars of Chrysanthemum are the major perennial garden plant in the United States.

Flowering plants are largely sold in pots for indoor use. The major flowering plants are poinsettias, orchids, florist chrysanthemums, and finished florist azaleas. Foliage plants are also sold in pots and hanging baskets for indoor and patio use, including larger specimens for office, hotel, and restaurant interiors.

Cut flowers are usually sold in bunches or as bouquets with cut foliage. The production of cut flowers is specifically known as the cut flower industry. Farming flowers and foliage employs special aspects of floriculture, such as spacing, training and pruning plants for optimal flower harvest; and post-harvest treatment such as chemical treatments, storage, preservation and packaging. In Australia and the United States some species are harvested from the wild for the cut flower market.

Floriculture is increasingly regarded as a viable diversification from the traditional field crops due to increased per unit returns and the increasing habit of “saying it with flower” during all the occasions. Though the art of growing flowers is not new to India, protected cultivation in polyhouses is relatively new in India. Enormous genetic diversity, varied agro climatic conditions and versatile human resources offer India a unique scope for diversification into new avenues which have not been explored to a greater extent. With the opening up of world market in the WTO regime, there is a free movement of floriculture products worldwide. In this context, each and every country has equal opportunity for trade in each other’s territory. Globally, more than 140 countries are involved in cultivation of floricultural crops. The USA continues to be the highest consumer with more than $ 10 billion per annum, followed by Japan with more than $ 7 billion. India has better scope in the future as there is a shift in trend towards tropical flowers and this can be gainfully exploited by India with enormous amount of diversity in indigenous flora.

What do Floriculture Products Look Like when One Uses Them?

Flowers play an essential role in people’s celebrations and every day lives. Weddings, graduations, funerals, Mother’s Day, St. Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas are all peak periods of demand for flowers and plants. Cut flowers are combined into elaborate arrangements and bouquets, or several stems are packaged together for impulse cash-and-carry purchases. Flowering and foliage plants are combined together in baskets or planters, or sold individually with pot covers and sleeves to accent their beauty. Cut flowers, potted plants and bedding plants are available at florists, supermarkets, corner grocery stores, mass-market outlets and garden centers. More people are buying flowers at their supermarket as part of their weekly grocery shopping. Another shift in marketing is the move towards more direct farm marketing. Several growers have retail outlets on the farm where you can buy products such as longstem roses, potted orchids and bedding plants.

CHALLENGES

Growers face many challenges including:

Declining margins – While prices have remained steady over the past several years, most input costs have risen steadily. To remain profitable, growers have had to become more efficient in production and management.
Environment – Environmental issues are a major concern for growers. Growers have responded by re-using irrigation water, reducing pesticide and fertilizer use and reducing greenhouse runoff.
Pest control – Concerns over pesticide use by the public and producers alike, along with pesticide resistance and the loss of approved pesticides, have prompted growers to adopt alternative pest control methods. Integrated pest management (IPM) is playing a larger role in greenhouse pest control. Many growers are now using biological or bio-rational control methods to supplement or replace existing pesticides.
Employment – Labour is an important element in production. Bedding plant and cut flower growers face labour costs of up to one third of gross sales. Although increased mechanization is a necessary element of global competition, the industry continues to be a major agricultural employer.
Urban-rural conflicts – Urban-rural conflicts are a fact of life for most agriculture in the Province. some municipalities look upon floriculture as more of a factory production industry rather than agriculture. Most municipalities have zoning regulations concerning the maximum site coverage for greenhouses.
Capital costs – Modern, state-of-the-art greenhouse operations can cost up to $200 per square metre. This represents a barrier to entry for many potential growers. Field-grown cut flowers and bedding plant production have much lower capital costs, so they are often entry level crops.
Seasonal demand – The demand for fresh floriculture products is seasonal and the product is very perishable. Large numbers of people want to buy flowers for special occasions or holidays like St. Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Christmas. Growers must time their production to meet these periods of high demand. Some growers have 30% of their annual sales in a three week period in spring.

WHO’S INVOLVED IN PRODUCING FLORICULTURE PRODUCTS?
Growers
Greenhouse and field employees
Wholesalers
Florists
Garden centres
Supermarkets
Corner stores
Mass-market outlets
Retail clerks

Interesting Fact About Floriculture:

  • Some of our important floriculture crops originate as weeds in other parts of the world. For example, gerberas (Transvaal Daisies) in South Africa and eustoma (Prairie Gentian) in Texas.
  • Some countries grow dandelions commercially as a salad crop.
  • Floriculture is a world-wide industry: the flowers you buy today could have been picked in South America, Europe or Israel two days ago. To compete with imports, local growers must be able to provide a fresh, high quality product for less money.

Floriculture in India

About two decades back or so, the floriculture was just a pastime of rich people and hobby of flower lovers, but now it has opened a new vista in agri-business i,e, commercial floriculture. With the increase in buying capacity of people, the flower lovers have now started buying them from the markets to beautify their home as well as to adore some one they love simply because they don’t have time and enough space to grow flowers particularly in urban areas and in metropolitan cities. Flowers, it seems, is the most wanted item in any social occasions for conveying one’s status and aesthetic sense. Flower is now so indispensable that one may cancel his her birthday celebration or Yama may postpone the death of a dying person in case flowers are not available at that time. No nuptial is performed and honeymoon of a young couple is not consummated till garden fresh rose and rajanigandha or tuberose with lingering and stupefying aroma are made available. Warm welcome cannot be offered to VIPs in the public functions without bouquet – flowers are so indispensable!All these, no doubt, have set flower business on a top gear. One may wonder, the global market on flower is at present, carrying a business worth 2000 crores US dollar (1992) par annum. India is also having a business worth R.280 crores in her domestic market (1992-93).

Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) conducted a survey of assessment on the possibilities of cut flowers trade in India during 1960-62. An important conclusion was that an internal sale as RS.9.26 Crores worth flower weighing 10,460 tones grown in an area of 4000 hector. Flowers like Rose, Gladiolus, Tuberose, Chrysanthemum, Aster, Carnation, Orchids, Marigold are most popular in cut flower market all over the World.

Flower Trade Across The World:

World trade on floriculture produces like cut flowers, ornamental plants, flowering plants, flower seeds and plantlets gaining tremendous momentum. Many countries, particularly the developed ones, are importing flowers to meet their internal demand. It will be worthwhile to mention that the annual import figures of some of the largest importers on flowers – USA ( 232 crores US dollar) Japan ( 192 crores US $ ), Germany ( 180 crores US $) France (77 Crores Us Dollar) , Italy (55.6 Crores US Dollar), Holland (50 Crores US Dollar). The other importers like Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, Middle-east countries etc. also import a sizable amount of cut flowers. In recent past, Israel has come up as the biggest grower of flowers, using modern agro-techniques like glass-house culture, drip irrigation, liquid pesticides & fertilisers application along with drip irrigation channels, Tissue Culture. It may be mentioned that the roses of Israel adjudged to be the best in the World. via-a-vis such a huge market potential of floriculture produce, India’s contribution is not at all encouraging as its flower export amount to 30 lakh us dollar only, hence India has to do a lot to exploit this agro-business.

EXPORT OPPORTUNITY FOR INDIA – A REPORT OF A TRADE DELEGATION

A trade delegation for floriculture produces visited USSR, Holland, West Germany, USA during 1980. The delegation had highlighted the following points. .
The import to these countries will be mainly during winter season i.e. between November-March when agro-climatic conditions are not suitable for the plants.
Import of flowers grown under Glass-house conditions will be preferred for their uniformity in quality.
The ornamental flowers which have been highlighted for export from India to these countries include Gladioli, Roses of specific varieties, Chrysanthemum, Carnation orchids etc.
With the varied agro-climatic conditions of the country, no doubt, we have got good scope for the development of ornamental flowers like Rose, Gladioli, Tube rose etc. But, for all these we have to develop package of practices and post-harvest technologies so that their quick dispatch to foreign markets will be ensured. The foreign markets will however depend much on the quality of the produces.

Sources:

Floriculture in India

Wikipedia

Floriculture Information

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