Pune flower growers live in fear ahead of St.Valentine's Day

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By Shivaji

Pune, Feb.11 : Ahead of the St.Valentine's day, several flower growers in Pune are keeping their fingers crossed fearing a backlash of fundamentalist groups in various parts of the country who often play spoil sport by protests or targeting florist shops on this youngsters' day out.

For being major suppliers of flowers to various cities, attacks on the florist shops or vendors, directly affects Pune farmers' livelihood in Maharashtra.

Farmers decry the fact that on one side the political parties claim fighting for ensuring justice and livelihood to us whereas they act strangers to our concerns around such an important days for our bread n butter.

"Over 250-300 farmers are involved in floriculture. During the Valentine's Day, they send their flowers to Mumbai, which is a big market for flowers. But it badly affects the farmers' earnings when some political activists protest," said Shivaji Bhegde, a farmer and the President of Flower Growers Association in Pune.

"On one hand these parties are fighting for the farmers in Vidarbha (regarding rampant suicides in farmers) and on the other, they are ruining the business of other farmers. When they stamp and ruin the roses on Valentines Day, it pains us a lot to see our flowers being destroyed in such a manner," Bhegde added.

In 2007, roses worth rupees five to six million were exported to the European markets from Pune alone.

In India, New Delhi, Kolkata, Chandigarh, Mumbai, Bhopal, Indore and Goa, are some of major markets for floriculture. These markets are supplied a major part of their total produce from Pune.

Maharashtra is a major producer of floriculture products with over 4,000 Hectares of area under various flowers.

The major traditional flowers grown in Maharashtra are rose, chrysanthemum, marigold, jasmine and tuberose whereas, gladioluses, aster, zinnia, Stacie, lilies, gerberas and carnations are grown among the non traditional flowers.

ANI

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