Commercialization of floriculture
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha has asked his administration to take steps for making the commercial floriculture sector more remunerative and employment generative. He has directed Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Floriculture, Gardens and Parks Department for submission of a comprehensive proposal for promotion of commercial floriculture within a period of one month. He also directed the concerned to take up the matter with Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) in connection with the establishment of Hitech Poly Carbonated Green Houses for their suitability in the region during winter months. He directed the Department to provide handholding to those engaged in the sector and ensure that the benefits under the Centrally Sponsored Schemes must reach to every beneficiary. On the issue of marketing of flowers, the Lt Governor called for exploring modalities for effective and profitable marketing of flowers and flower products within and outside J&K. It may be mentioned here that floriculture has not been under active focus of the governments, that be, here. Though Kashmir has a rich heritage of gardens and parks, as an economic activity, floriculture nave got proper attention. Now that the Lt Governor seems keen to make commercial floriculture sector more remunerative and employment generative, need is to concentrate on the basic challenges that the sector faces in Kashmir.
As far as production part is concerned, the conventional poly houses that are in vogue don’t help much. Though the concerned department provides such poly houses on subsidized rates to the farmers but these conventional ones fail to brave the harsh winters. While more produce is needed during winters, in absence of Hitech Poly Carbonated Green Houses there is almost no produce at all. The Lt Governor has already asked the authorities to take up the matter with ICAR in connection with the establishment of such Green Houses, need is to follow accelerate the process. Secondly, during winters, the poly houses need a proper heating system which is missing. To deal with this crucial part of production, government needs to devise a scheme so that farmers, interested in floriculture, are provided solar power on subsidy.
Transportation is another issue that confronts those who want to give the sector a try. As the flowers have very little shelf life, these need to be transported to the markets in a hassle-free way. The biggest market for flowers in north India is Delhi, however, it becomes very difficult for the Kashmir based florists to transport their produce there well in time. Given the fragile shelf life of flowers, air is the only mode of transportation but it is not economically feasible. If government is really serious about making the sector more remunerative and employment generative, it will have to help the farmers in transportation. The better way would be ensuring air subsidy for the produce that only will help the local farmers to reach out to the main mandi of Delhi and will make the sector economically viable.