Floriculture as an entreprenurial venture in J&K

Dr. Banarsi Lal
Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is bestowed with natural beauty and located between 32.17 and 37.06 North latitude and 73.2 and 80.36 East longitude in the Himalayan region. This beautiful place on the earth is blessed with immense natural beauty. J&K has 1069mm average annual rainfall in sub-tropical Jammu region and 660mm in temperate valley respectively. The average temperatures of these two regions are 24.5 and 13.3 centigrade respectively. J&K 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 variety of flowers. Floriculture sector is gaining momentum across the globe because of change in the lifestyle of the people, increasing concern over environment and improving purchasing power of the people. Many youths are coming forward to start the entrepreneurship in floriculture by using the modern technologies. The aesthetic value of flowers, their increasing use in the social events and potential of generating more money are attracting many new entrepreneurs towards floriculture industry. This sector has been considered as a viable sector recently because of increasing urbanization and changing socio-economic status of the people. The demand for cut flowers and loose flowers is increasing and there is need for the researchers and extension agents to concentrate on the future of this sector.
Union Territory of J&K is considered as the paradise on the earth because of its natural glamour.It 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 many visitors who are impressed by the natural beauty of J&K. Beautiful gardens in J&K are being enjoyed by the tourists across the globe.Recently floriculture has emerged as one of the important industries in agricultural sector in J&K.Presently J&K is producing huge quantity of flowers but still there is need to increase the flower production as there is increase in demand. With the strenuous efforts of Government organizations awareness on floriculture industry has been created among the farmers and now many farmers especially from the young generation are doing commercial floriculture.
Union Territory of J&K has huge potential in floriculture industry due to varied agro-climate and ecological conditions. Different types of commercially important flowers can be produced in the region and J&K can lead in quality flowers production in India because of congenial atmosphere for floriculture. Jammu is said to be the city of temples and Reasi district of J&K is the hub of religious spots and there is a very good scope of commercial. Floriculture sector in J&K can strengthen the economy of J&K and some new employment and income avenues can be generated specially for the youth in the region.Still more rigrous efforts are needed to transform the burgeoning floriculture industry in J&K. There is huge potential of marigold, gladiolus, rose, gerbera, lilium, tulip, chrysanthemum, orchids etc.in J&K. some model units of floriculture need to be established in J&K and those units should be replicated in other areas of Union Territory. In J&K every year new farmers are added up in the floriculture industry and their numbering is increasing year-by-year. The competition is also increasing annually because of the quality of flowers. There is need to make some proper marketing channels for flowers. Markets should be regulated for the floriculturists of the region. Additional efforts are needed for the value addition in the floriculture and some new innovations need to be adopted by the floriculturists to make this sector more lucrative.Waste flowers can be utilized to make different kinds of items such as dhoop,agarbatis,idols of gods and goddesses etc. Presently farmers are doing the commercial farming of marigold and gladiolus in Jammu region but some other floriculture crops can also be taken as enterprises by the farmers. There is scope in increasing the productivity of flowers and for that purpose latest technologies need to be adopted. There is uneven performance of floriculture sector in J&K because of promotion of floriculture in certain specific pockets of the region. Off-season flowers can also be produced by the adoption of protected cultivation technique. In Jammu region of J&K area under marigold and gladiolus is rapidly increasing annually because of high net returns. Farmers need more information on production technologies and marketing management under floriculture crops.
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.Union Territory of J&K has an immense scope of floriculture. It has been observed that flowers have high demand within and outside of J&K.J&K has good soil and weather conditions which are conducive for the growth of flowers. All these factors indicate that there is an immense scope of floriculture in J&K. Now the farmers are becoming aware about this rising industry. If we look our economy, our agriculture, horticulture and floriculture have attracted the attention of big investors. In Reasi, Jammu and Samba marigold crop is highly concentrated and farmers grow it at commercial level. Farmers need adequate credit facilities so that they can purchase quality inputs and get assured irrigation in their crops for better returns. Soil and water testing techniques facilities should be provided to them. Adequate power supply is also required to irrigate their fields and for other power related field activities. Broad research and extension activities also need to be intensified to promote the floriculture industry in J&K. Cold storage facilities also need to be increased to get better returns from this industry. Literature in local dialect should also be provided to the farmers to upgrade their knowledge on commercial floriculture. Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) should also be increased so that farmers can get the information of scientific floriculture. During training programmes projected aids can be utilized to create more impact of the activities. Through this technique more interest on floriculture can be created among the rural youths and flowers production can be increased. This will help to enhance the income of the farmers. Specific trainings on seed production should be imparted to the farmers so that they can produce their own seed and cost of cultivation can be reduced in the floriculture sector. Adequate staff is also required to impart the technical skill and assess the feedback of the farmers in this sector.
Public Private Partnership (PPP) can also be initiated in floriculture sector. Special projects on floriculture should be launched. Proper packaging and post-harvest techniques should be provided to the farmers of J&K. Special exposure visits for the floriculturists should be arranged within J&K or outside of J&K so as to learn new technologies under this sector. Rural migration should be discouraged so that the labour can be made easily available in the rural areas. Support prices should also be there for the flowers crops. 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 of J&K which can 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. Those farmers who are interested to grow the flowers under controlled conditions 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 J&K. If we look at the potential of floriculture industry in J&K, 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. Commercial floriculture can create income and employment opportunities in J&K.