Govt approves Rs 39 cr project to boost commercial floriculture
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has approved a mega Rs 39-crore project with an avowed objective of exploring the huge floriculture potential keeping in view the varied agro-climate and ecological conditions in the Union Territory for giving a boost to flower production, officials said.
“The project is expected to provide direct employment to 2000 besides the creation of 330 new enterprises,” said Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department.
He said Jammu and Kashmir has long been known for its rich and diverse agri-ecozones, making it an ideal location for the growth of a thriving floriculture industry. Abundantly endowed with natural wealth and scenic splendour, the UT is completely conducive for the cultivation of a wide range of flowers. The aesthetic value of flowers, their increasing use in social events and the potential of generating more money are attracting prospective entrepreneurs towards the floriculture industry.
Splendid gardens and parks in J&K are being enjoyed by tourists from across the globe.
However, despite this potential, the sector has not been able to make a significant contribution to the horticulture economy in the region so far. The main reasons for this are the small number of growers and enterprises, lack of aggregation platforms and weak post-harvest and branding efforts. And, to fill up these gaps the J&K government recently approved this ambitious project to boost commercial floriculture in the region.
“The Indian floriculture industry has been shifting from traditional flowers to cut flowers for export purposes. India has a dynamic Rs 15,000 crore domestic floriculture sector which exported produce worth Rs. 771.41 crore in 2021-22. Moreover, commercial floriculture has higher potential per unit area than most of the field crops and is therefore a lucrative business,” he said.
“One of the key focuses of the project is cluster-based area expansion of small ornamental nurseries, which will help to increase output and productivity. The project shall undertake protected cultivation of cut flowers, aromatic plants, loose flowers, and bulbous ornamental crops, as well as annual flower seed production. The project also included technology upgrades for existing ornamental nurseries, building aggregation platforms and post-harvest interventions like on-farm distillation units, seed processing units, walk-in cold storage, transport, branding and marketing efforts,” he added.
The new project aims to address the challenges facing the floriculture industry in J&K through a number of the latest technological interventions and strategies. The objectives of the project included increasing output from the pre-COVID levels of Rs 28 crore to around Rs. 85 crore per year in the next four years, supporting each production cluster with end-to-end value chain, post-harvest and processing facilities, branding, and market access, and capacity building of human resources for increasing employment in floriculture and allied sectors.
The project shall restore 2.25 hectare of area under cut flower production apart from adding 24 hectare of nursery area, creating four clusters (85ha) for lavender cultivation, increasing the area under loose flower production, and expanding the area under seed/bulb production. It also included exposure visits and training for stakeholders and business development and contract farming agreements with breeder and seed companies.
The project’s key outputs included upgrading 54 nursery units to high-tech operations, re-operationalizing 150 units, adding an additional 400 hectare of area under cultivation (total 587 ha), creating 330 new enterprises and training 2000 new growers in aromatic flower and bulb/seed production. It also aims to produce over 27 crore ornamental nursery plants and 4000 L of aromatic oils worth Rs 4.8 crore annually (from 5th year) and undertake skilling of 4000 growers in cluster mode. The total outlay of the project is Rs. 39.03 crore.
Overall, the new project represents a major step forward for the floriculture industry in J&K. With a focus on cluster-based area expansion, technology upgrades, post-harvest and marketing efforts, the project has the potential to help establish a sustainable and profitable floriculture industry in the region. It is hoped that this project will help to create new opportunities for growers and entrepreneurs, and will contribute to the overall economic development of J&K.
“Promotion of Commercial Floriculture in UT of J&K” is one among the 29 projects, which were approved by the Jammu and Kashmir administration after being recommended by the UT Level Apex Committee for holistic development of Agriculture and allied sectors in UT of J&K. The prestigious committee is headed by Dr Mangala Rai, Former DG ICAR and has other luminaries in the field of Agriculture, Planning, Statistics & Administration like Ashok Dalwai, CEO NRAA, Dr. P. K Joshi, Secretary, NAAS, Dr. Prabhat Kumar, Horticulture Commissioner MOA & FW, Dr. H. S Gupta, Former Director, IARI, Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department apart from the Vice Chancellors of the twin Agriculture Universities of the UT.