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Indian floriculture exports on the rise

By Nivedita Naidu

 


The robust business of delicate flowers is blooming in India.

Flowers have always played an important role in the Indian culture. With India’s floriculture exports worth 47,942 lakh rupees in 2015-16 flowers seem to be adding value to the economy too.

 

India’s floriculture exports have risen from 46,077.23 lakh rupees in 2014-2015 to 47,942 lakh rupees in 2015-16 according to Agriculture and Processed Food products Export Development Authority (APEDA). APEDA is responsible for export promotion and development of floriculture in India.


India’s major export market is US, Germany, UK, Netherlands and United Arab Emirates. Apart from other countries, India also exports to  Congo republic, Albania, Brunei, Namibia, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cape Varde, Netherland Antilles, Dominica, and Macao. The Indian Government has given floriculture a 100 percent export oriented status, thus encouraging commercial floriculture activities. According to APEDA commercial floriculture has higher potential per unit area than most of the field crops and is therefore a lucrative business.Floriculture products mainly consist of cut flowers, pot plants, cut foliage, seeds bulbs, tubers, rooted cuttings and dried flowers or leaves. The important floricultural crops in the international cut flower trade are rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, gerbera, gladiolus, gypsophila, liastris also known as blazing star, nerine, orchids, archilea, anthurium, tulip, and lilies.Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan, West Bengal have emerged as major floriculture centres in India.


Technology has played a major role in developing floriculture in India. Hydroponics is a method of cultivating flowers where soil is not fertile; using this technique helps in cut a major barrier if the soil is not fit or not enough for cultivation. Hydroponics is developing in India and cultivators have begun investing in this technology. Green house management is also essential to develop floriculture. Karnataka and Maharashtra are two states that have developed in floriculture, especially when it comes to producing export quality products. Praveen Sharma, a floriculturist and also the President of the Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals has been involved in exporting floriculture products. He said, Maharashtra has an advantage over other states as one of the busiest international airport, i.e. Mumbai airport is situated here. Also in the 90’s export oriented units were set up close to the airports.

 

These export oriented floriculture units got the technology from Holland and Israel. This technology transfer gave an impetus to the floriculture industry. With the passage of time this technology has saturated and percolated to the rural youths who have taken jobs in the industry. Karnataka is another state that is actively present in the floriculture business due to technology absorption. International Flower Auction Centre, Bangalore is one of the first of its kind to be established in the country. The business of floriculture is capital and labour intensive where returns are not immediate. Praveen Sharma added, “ There are no new players who are entering the market when it comes to producing export quality products, the business is being carried out by mature and established houses,” In his opinion the Indian floriculturist exporter is matured and developed and is able to deliver the best product to the market.


The global floral production value is estimated to be 55bn USD according to Rabobank Research, analysts for food and agro business around the globe. India’s strength to gain in this sector lies in its geographical and climatic diversity. Rural India could seize the opportunity and invest in this sector which has a huge global demand.  Dr. Balaji S Kulkarni, Professor and Head, Department of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture, College of Horticulture, Bangalore said, apart from technology the floriculture industry needs robust infrastructure in terms of cold storage facilities, establishing training centres for developing skilled labour and establishing a network of support system that ensures government and private partnerships.

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