Anthurium exports help West Bengal flower industry to blossom

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Jalpaiguri, Feb 2 (ANI): India's flower industry has received a fillip thanks to the efforts of a farm in West Bengal's Jalpaiguri district.

Anthurium flowers, which are native to South America, are being grown here.

Utpal Banarjee, the owner of this farm, says the relative cooler sub-tropical climate of northeast India is suited to the flower's growth.

"This flower is mainly grown in the northeast. So in the rest of the country, you cannot grow this flower; either it is too hot or too cold, and does not have the required climate. So you see, the northeast is catering to the entire demand of the country," said Banarjee.

Banarjee and 22 farmers are using artificial planting procedures to grow the flowers.

This involves adding coconut husks to the soil, as anthuriums thrive in moist soils with high organic matter.

"The light intensity is less, this plant requires more relative humidity and above all, it has a different growing medium. It does not grow in soil so we create a tropical atmosphere here," said Banarjee.

Anthuriums are popular for interior decoration and as cut flowers, as they can last for up to 15 days.

Also known as the 'flamingo flower', the plant is characterised by large heart-shaped flower and dark green leaves.

Domestic demand for anthuriums is fast picking up, with the price rising by 20 per cent in the last two years.

This has impacted flower exports, too. In the period of April-February, 2008-2009, flower exports earned 656.3 million rupees, as compared to 487.5 million rupees the previous year.

Most of the exports were to the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Japan.

Anthuriums belong to the arum (Aracae) family, which is made up of around 600 to 800 species. (ANI)

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