Floriculture or flower farming may be defined as “a discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation and of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and for floristry, comprising the floral industry. The development, via plant breeding, of new varieties is a major occupation of floriculturists.” Floriculture includes a variety of crops ranging from bedding plants, flowering garden to cut flowers. Essentially herbaceous in nature, floricultural crops need a controlled environment for their cultivation and are sold primarily for gardens and for the purpose of landscaping. Flowering plants are sold essentially for indoor use in pots while cut flowers as bouquets decorated with foliage.
Floriculture provides a sustainable and dignified source of income for the poor women in the urban areas. Technological advances and intensive system have enhanced the flower production to 1.5 billion flowers per annum. Though the number of flower growers has been decreasing, technological advancements have compensated for it more than enough. Modern computerized green houses, use of netting and other developments have raised floriculture to a new level where 50% of the flowers are cultivated in such controlled environment. Industrial park based ‘greenhouse parks’ are now being utilized by the farmers, one of the latest innovations in floriculture technology. Greenhouses on rent are now available to the farmers including the infrastructure to grow flowers in the controlled environment. The concept of the government of setting up rented greenhouses has become an instant hit with the farmers, since greenhouses are extremely expensive (establishment cost around Rs 2,000/sq ft). It is an impossibility for the poor farmers to invest such exorbitant amounts.
The floriculturist farmers have to face a lot of challenges though to meet the rising demand of flowers throughout the world. Some of the problems are listed below:
• Investments in floriculture infrastructure have risen steadily over the years. Though flower prices have remained steady in the last few years, the farmers have to be more efficient and productive to prevent the profit margins from hitting a decline.
• Environmental issues remain a major setback which is being countered by measures like reusing irrigation water and ‘greenhouse turn off’.
• Pesticide control is an issue with both the public and the producers. The contribution of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) has created awareness amongst the growers to use “biological or bio-rational pest control” methods instead of the conventional pesticides.
• Though labor costs have been somewhat compensated by the increased mechanization, it continues to be a perpetual problem.
• Modern greenhouse infrastructures are very expensive which obviously restricts the entry of a lot of potential growers.
Some of the leading floriculture companies of India are listed below:
• ADENIUMSINDIA: Reputed growers and exporters of hybrid adeniums situated about 50 kilometers from Chennai
• ALCHEMIST LIMITED: A conglomerate with diverse business interests, floriculture being one of them
• FLORASTAND: Specialized in roses, including exporting
• FLORANCE FLORA : One of the oldest floricultural companies of India, involved in a wide range of floricultural activities
• FLORICULTURE IN MEGHALAYA: The climate of the state encourages floriculture in a wide scale; especially the areas near Shillong are famous for cut flower production
• FRAGRANCE AND FLAVOR DEVELOPMENT CENTER: Involved in the production of essential oils and modified perfumery compounds
• GANAPATHI EXPORTERS: Involved in manufacturing and exporting of sola flower, lata balls, potpourri, exotics etc.
• GOLDEN FLORICULTURE COMPANY: Involved mainly in import and export of tropical seeds and plants
• KRAFTSMANN INTERNATIONAL: Involved in cultivation and development of dry flowers, potpourri etc.
• PRAMEYA FLOWERS: A successful grower of floricultural plants, they specialize in both indoor and outdoor floricultural landscaping. Their specialty is the capability to deliver any kind of plant in any quantity throughout India
• SANOCIL BIOTECH PVT LTD.: Involved in supplying of eco-friendly biocides and other disinfecting chemicals
• SNEHA FLORIST: Dominating the floricultural market in India since 1997, they are involved in the export of all kinds of flowers; they are also involved in producing horticultural and agricultural products.
• SOEX FLORA: Involved in exporting of roses and fresh cut flowers
• V2 PLANTS INC.: Involved in supplying of tissue culture plants like ornamental plants and also exporting them
• WORLD DRIED FLOWERS: As evident from the name, they are the prime manufactures and exporters of Indian dried flowers.
A report released by ASSOCHAM, “Indian Floricultural Industry: The Way Ahead” predicted, “Growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of about 30%, the Indian floriculture industry is likely to cross the Rs 8,000 crore mark by 2015”. The current worth of the Indian floricultural industry is about Rs 3,700 crore, the global floricultural sector share being only 0.61% which is likely to hit the 0.89% mark by 2015, the report further added. Rs 2,400 crore in the overall floricultural industry accounts for India’s sole share of 65% in the global rose flower industry. Rose accounts for 75% of the global floricultural industry and India is the largest rose grower. Not only in the domestic sector like Ahmedabad, Chandigarh and Patna to name a few, the demand for roses is increasing exponentially in foreign countries like Australia, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, US, UK and other countries of Europe and Middle East. The 1960s may have gone but “Flower Power” has assumed a new dimension, with India emerging as a key player in the global floricultural market.