Large scope for growth in floriculture: Pawar

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New Delhi, Sep 12 (UNI) The floriculture industry has vast potential for generating income and employment and enhancing export earnings and this sector is growing at a fast pace, helped by recent initiatives launched by the Government.

Inaugurating the 3rd International Flora Expo here today, Agriculture Minister Sharad pawar mentioned the contribution of National Horticulture Mission launched last year and the Technology Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture in the North Eastern States in 2001-02.

During the last two years, about Rs 68 crore has been given to the states for expansion of area under flower cultivation, resulting in about 22,000 hectares of additional area coming under floriculture production. Centres for organized floriculture have emerged in many parts of the country, including Bangalore, Pune and Nasik.

Mizoram, Meghalaya and Sikkim have entered export and domestic markets in this field.

The domestic market of flowers and ornamental plants fetches about Rs 10,000 million for cultivators, the Minister informed.

Since there is no organized market for flowers at present, the increasing popularity of retail markets, particularly of perishables, is likely to provide a fillip to the domestic floriculture industry.

Setting up of six Agri Export Zones for floriculture, besides a large number of flower clusters under NHM, is expected to provide further impetus to the domestic and international trade of floriculture products in the coming years, Mr Pawar said.

Delineating the growth of floriculture exports, the Minister said that flower exports have recorded a robust growth from Rs 188 million in 1993-94 to over Rs 4,000 million in 2006-07 and now India's share in floriculture export is about 2 per cent of the total agri-export basket.

Fresh flowers are reaching about 87 countries with a significant share going to countries like Australia, UK, Japan, the Netherlands and UAE.

During the last ten years, there has been an exponential growth in the earning through the marketing of floriculture products, both in the domestic and international markets, he said and added that this has been achieved despite stiff competition from many of the flower exporting countries and high domestic freight charges on floriculture products.

The Minister also invited entrepreneurs from other countries to take advantage of the government's policies and take up commercial ventures in floriculture in India.

Mr Pawar said that liberalisation of industrial and trade policies has paved the way for export-oriented production of cut flowers. Besides, since 2006, the Government has permitted 100 per cent Foreign Direct Investment in the floriculture sector.

UNI

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