The traditional flower cultivation, comprising of growing loose flowers mostly for worship, garland making and decorations, forms the backbone of India floriculture, which is mostly in the hands of small and marginal farmers. About 3.00 lakh ha of area is under loose flower cultivation producing 1840000 MT of flowers annually (2014-15). The major production comes from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Bihar, Jharkhand, Kerala and Telangana while the major markets are in Chennai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Kadiyam, Pune, Mumbai and Delhi. The marketing network for loose flowers comprises of growers, middlemen, wholesalers, retailers and the consumers. The marketing yards for flowers are mostly on the pavements with primitive infrastructure for postharvest care and processing leading to poor shelf life. A small portion of loose flowers is being exported to Middle East, UK and USA for the expatriate Indians.
In India nearly 98.5% of flowers are grown under open cultivation and hardly 1.5% flowers are grown under greenhouse cultivation. The euphoria generated by the sector during 1990s for cut flower production in greenhouses subsided after some hard lessons learned by the industry. West Bengal, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttaranchal are the major producers of cut flowers. The marketing network for cut flowers comprises of growers, exporters, auction houses, retailers and consumers. In the domestic markets, dedicated marketing infrastructure for cut flowers is in place in Bangalore in the form of a flower auction center. Such flower auction centers are in place in Noida and other metros.
Floricultural exports from India comprise of fresh cut flowers (to Europe, Japan, Australia, Middle East and USA) loose flowers (for expatriate Indians in the Gulf) cut foliage (to Europe) Dry flowers (To USA, Europe, Japan, Australia, Far East and Russia) Potted Plants (Limited to Middle East) besides seeds and planting material. Dry flowers alone contribute nearly Rs.320 crores (70%) of total exports valued at Rs.460 crores (2014). India's position as an exporting country for cut flowers stands at 29 among the flower exporting countries with a value of 8227(000USD) which translates to a percentage share of 0.31%. On the other hand India imports flowers worth Rs. 38.25 crores from Thailand, the Netherlands and People’s Republic of China.
The demand for the flowers in India is constantly increasing especially among the metros. This trend has encouraged the Indian traders to import some of the exotic flowers for decoration and floral arrangements. Major flowers that are being imported and sold in Indian markets include Proteas, orchids, Iris, Cala Lily, Heliconia etc., Thailand is the major exporter of tropical flowers especially orchids to India followed by the Netherlands.
India has a sizeable nursery industry with major hubs located in Kadiyam (Andhra Pradesh), Kalimpong (West Bengal), Pune (Maharashtra), Gajrola and Shaharanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Bengaluru (Karnataka).
India is a leading producer and exporter (Rs 322 crores) of dry flowers in the world. The product mix comprises of forest produce, farm residue, seeds, pods and fruits besides specific flowers that are dried. The major production centers are in Tuticorin, Cochi and Kolkata.
To harness the emerging opportunities in floriculture a strong institutional support is inevitable, which shall address the genetic resource utilization, development of cultivars, production technology, productive use of water, plant architecture engineering and management, protection technology, value addition, database and human resource development. To address these multifaceted research issues the Indian Council of Agricultural Research has established a dedicated Directorate of Floricultural Research (DFR) on 10th December 2009 at the Indian Agricultural Research Institute by upgrading the All India Coordinated Research Project on Floriculture. The ICAR-DFR was relocated to its permanent location Pune during February 2014. The institute is alos in the process of establishing a regional station at the Vemagiri, Villege of Kadiyam mandal of Andhra Pradesh.
The Team DFR looks forward to developing state of the art research infrastructure, strong reach base, linkages with national and international organizations to serve the cause of all stake holders involved in bloom business.
K. V. Prasad
ICAR-Directorate of Floricultural Research,
Zed Corner, Mundhwa Manjri Road, Mundhwa,