Belgaum "the flower City"
The Hindu (www.thehind.com) 26 Dec 2007
BANGALORE: To tap the potential in the floriculture sector, the Union Government has sanctioned six flower auction centres to the State under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
Karnataka, which occupies a prominent position in floriculture in the country, has decided to establish auction centres on the lines of Agricultural Produce Marketing Committees (APMC) in six districts.
The Centre has accepted the proposals made by the State Government and agreed to release Rs. 8 crore for establishment of auction centres, Horticulture Department officials told The Hindu on Tuesday.
The centres would come up at Sirsi in Uttara Kannada; Madikeri in Kodagu; Chikkanayakanahalli in Tumkur; apart Udupi, Belgaum and Bagalkot.
These districts are known for large areas under floriculture, and several people in the floriculture business have set up hi-tech units. “The floriculture enterprise will continue to be a challenge until the chain of activities right from post-harvest to buyers is properly handled,” an official maintained.
The officials said the Centre had decided to release Rs. 6 crore in the current financial year and Rs. 2 crore in the next fiscal year.
Flower growers lacked awareness about market conditions because of poor linkages in the distribution chain and had poor access to cold storage facilities, leading to seasonal gluts and price variation. The auction centres provided all facilities, including storage.
There was much scope for tapping the Rs. 600-crore domestic market in the floriculture sector.
At present, only 2.5 per cent of the flower sales were in the organised retail sector. Since floriculture provided a viable diversification option for agricultural sector, the Centre agreed to provide funds to set up auction centres, the officials spointed out.
In the State, floriculture covers about 21,500 hectares and flower production is around 1.60 lakh tonnes worth about Rs. 300 crore.
At present, there are 125 hi-tech floriculture units in the State, spread over an area of 200 hectares.
There are about 150 nurseries, big and small, registered and unregistered, in and around the garden city. The State has already established an International Flower Auction Centre at Bangalore, which is said to be the first of its kind in the country.
A major chunk of the country’s floriculture exports is from the Bangalore region as it accounts for exports worth Rs. 50 crore in the country’s total exports of Rs. 74.13 crore.
The floriculture business is concentrated in Bangalore, Belgaum, Kodagu, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kolar districts.
The flowers that dominate the production are marigold (46,101 tonnes) chrysanthemum (42,794 tonnes), jasmine (29,707 tonnes), tube rose (11,185 tonnes), crossandra (9,898 tonnes), aster (7,812 tonnes), rose (3,128 tonnes), and others (9,365 tonnes).
The highest number of hi-tech floriculture units are in Belgaum (70), followed by Bangalore Rural district (25), Bangalore city (20), Kodagu (10) and Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Shimoga (five each).
There are nearly 1,000 florist stalls in Bangalore.
However, retailers maintain that the highest consumption in the market is the home segment.
The corporate consumption in the city is negligible, they say.
The Horticulture Department has decided to provide assistance of Rs. 18 lakh to establish model floriculture nurseries in the two universities of agricultural sciences, Krishi Vignana Kendras and State departmental farms under the National Horticulture Mission.
The private entrepreneurs could also avail themselves of assistance of Rs. 9 lakh to set up model nurseries.