Dr.Banarsi Lal, Dr. Shahid Ahamad
Jammu and Kashmir is located between 32.17 and 37.06 North Latitude and 73.2 and 80.36 East Longitude in the Himalayan region. The state is blessed with immense natural beauty. The state has 1069mm average annual rainfall in sub-tropical Jammu region, 660mm in temperate valley and 80-90mm in arid Ladakh region respectively. The average temperatures of these three regions are 24.5, 13.3 and 5.3 centigrade respectively. The state is endowed with ample natural resources including soil, water, climatic condition, diversity, topography, rich natural flora etc. which are conducive for the cultivation of a wide range of flowers. The state is considered as the paradise on the earth because of its natural glamour. The state has undergone many changes through the ages, influenced by the different kinds of cultures, religions and rulers during various periods of history. It is this scenic beauty and bountiful nature that lured the Mughals and they were impressed by the beauty of the state and they established many gardens in the valley along their main sites and journey routes. Beautiful gardens in the state are being enjoyed by the tourists across the globe. Keeping the demand of flowers in view there is need to increase the flower production in the state. With the strenuous efforts of Government organisations awareness on floriculture industry has been created among the farmers and some farmers especially from the young generation are showing keen interest in floriculture. A good number of progressive farmers in almost all the districts of the state have been trading flowers in the local and outside markets. In 1990 the area under floriculture in J&K was only 80 ha and now it has increased around 350 ha with an annual turnover of about 1350 lakhs.
Flowers have their importance because of their aesthetic value in their use in decorating homes, in social events such as marriages, social gathering and funerals, in religious rituals etc. Main floriculture crops such as marigold, gladiolus, lilies, tulips, carnations, roses and gerberas are being cultivated in the state to generate additional income. Both the agricultural universities in the state (SKUAST-J and SKUAST-K) and State Department of Floriculture provide technical assistance to the floriculture farmers and impart training to start the entrepreneurship in the floriculture. Technical guidelines on cut flowers, seeds, bulbs and ornamental plants, introduction of new technologies like high-tech poly structures etc. are provided to the farmers by these organizations. These organizations also demonstrate some advance floriculture farms to the farmers through exposure
Flowers play an important role in our life right from birth to death. Floriculture industry has been emerged as an important agri-business in Jammu and Kashmir. In view of fast development of technology, to grow the good quality of flowers, their plucking, preservation and transportation this activity has assumed the status as an important industry in the state. In J&K this industry has started flourishing on scientific basis. J&K has good soil and conducive weather conditions for flowers cultivation. Recently the floriculture industry is rapidly increasing in the state. With the advance research in floriculture the new varieties of flowers have been developed.
The state like Jammu and Kashmir has immense scope of floriculture as the state is blessed with some world famous religious shrines and tourists across the world visit to these spots.The floriculture is not getting the priority as it deserves in the state. It is an intensive type of farming. In floriculture income per hectare is much higher than many other agricultural sectors if it is done in a scientific way. We should not forget the aesthetic value of flowers in our daily life. Colourful flowers in the house compounds and in the parks really enhance the beauty of our homes, villages, towns and cities. Flowers bring the happiness in our life and boost the sagging spirits. Commercially floriculture increases the income of our farmers. If the government makes the cooperative societies for the flowers growers then the menace of middlemen can be eliminated. The cosmetic industries has also been encouraged which use wide varieties of floricultural products. The essential oils from different flowers such as rose, jasmine and tuberose used in the manufacture of cosmetics have very high price. The business of nursery in the floriculture industry can earn a lot of money for the rural people. One vital step in this industry is needed to certify the seeds and standardizing the floriculture nursery stocks.
J&K has lot of scope of floriculture industry. It has been observed that flowers have high demand within and outside of state. We have good soil and weather conditions in the state which are conducive for the growth of flowers. All these factors indicate that there is immense scope of floriculture in J& K. Now the farmers are becoming aware about this rising industry in the state. If we look our economy, our agriculture, horticulture and floriculture have attracted the attention of big investors. Floriculture requires higher level of information, economics and technology, the consultancy services in preparing the project reports, to prepare the market survey report, evaluation studies etc. National Horticulture Board under the Ministry of Agriculture has introduced many new schemes to encourage the floriculture industry. There is need to promote the cold storage facilities for the floriculture industry. For high quality of floriculture we primarily need the high quality plants which can give quality flowers. For this purpose we need to develop quality nurseries in the villages which will help to create the employment in the rural areas. Market is another aspect in floriculture industry. The trade of flowers and their products are fastly increasing annually. Certain areas have been specified which are considered conducive for the certain varieties of flowers. Marigold be utilized to produce more and more seeds. J&K has favourable weather conditions for floriculture and we have a good opportunity for exporting the flowers. To produce the quality flowers we need to grow them under the controlled conditions. For this purpose we can use the green houses/polyhouses. Green house is a framed structure made up of either cane wood or steel. The transparent and translucent plastic materials are used. In such green houses the temperature, humidity and carbon dioxide are fully controlled which creates the conducive atmosphere for the growth of the plants. The advantage of green house is that only the congenial radiation which is required for the plant is passed through the sheet while the harmful radiation is trapped. Those farmers who are interested to grow the flowers under Green Houses should consult with the qualified floriculture experts having good knowledge of plant engineering, production and market aspects also. We need to have more high tech floriculture projects in operation all over the state. If we look at the potential of floriculture industry in the state, it can be said that there is need of skilled and unskilled persons right from planting the plants, plucking the flowers, their storage and their transportation in different local, national and international markets so that ultimately flowers can be reached to the consumers. The process involved in the floriculture industry requires the latest technologies. For this purpose the farmers who are interested to flourish this industry should be trained and necessary infrastructure facilities should be provided to them. Looking at the scope of floriculture industry special trainings are imparted at the village level by the government organizations which help the farmers to start the floriculture projects. These kinds of projects will create employment for the rural people and ultimately the economic status of the farmers can be improved.
(The writers are in the faculty of KVK Reasi, (Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agricultural Sciences and Technology-Jammu).
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