Livelihood of the majority of the population of Jammu & Kashmir revolves around the agriculture and allied sectors. These sectors constitute the mainstay of the JK’s economy and contribute nearly 50 per cent to Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP). Over 70 per cent of the population, of more than 1.25 crores depends directly or indirectly on agriculture and its allied sectors.
Population of Kashmir division as per 2011 census is 71.99 lakhs including 51.5% people residing in rural areas. Around 1.85 lakhs of females are involved with agriculture and 38.45 thousand of females are working as agricultural labourers. This indicates that around 2.24 lakhs of females are directly involved with farming in Kashmir division of Jammu and Kashmir. The average size of holding is very small (0.545 ha/holding) as compared to 1.66 ha at the national level with more than 93% of owners of these farm holdings subsisting on agriculture and allied activities. Commercial floriculture is a profitable activity known worldwide and is an industry having around 60 billion dollar annual trade. Biggest commercial floriculture market is at Alsmeer Nethger started by civil society namely Flora Hollanda and now 191 countries are involved in this trade with an anuual turnover of above 50 billion Us dollars with a growth rate of 10%.Globally 2 million ha are under commercial floriculture and India has around 3 million ha under commercial floriculture. Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer and Flora-Holland merged w.e.f. 1.1.2008 under the name Flora-Holland and sells more than 22 million flowers and two million plants every day. 9000 specialized growers from all over the world offer their flowers and plants via Flora Holland Aalsmeer every day. About 2553 wholesalers and exporters are involved in flower trade at Aalsmeer. It has a total space around 1.29 million m2 in Aalsmeer. Aalsmeer turns over 9.9 million Euros every day. Flora-Holland has over 4400 employees This has 44 per cent share of the total flower market and 55 per cent of the Netherlands flower export.
Indian floriculture industry has been shifting from traditional to organized business. Around 3 lakh ha are under commercial floriculture in India but contributes only 0.5% of export due to huge domestic demand. 5 leading states in flower acreage include Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, West Bengal , Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra. Modern floriculture is about 700 ha, 70% of which is in greenhouses and 90% of this is under roses only. Cut flower production centers in India are in Bangalore, Pune ,Nasik,Hyderabad ,Chennai Kalimpon and Gurgaon.
Commercial Floriculture in Himalayan States
Himachal Pradesh, J&K and Uttarkhad are the important Himalayan states which are progressing in commercial floriculture. Himachal Pradesh records 719.05 ha under this sector and leading flower producing districts are Sirmaur (559 ha) followed by Kangra (91), Solan (66), Chamba (50), Bilaspur (47 ha), Shimla (38ha.) and Kullu (26ha)
Uttrakhand Currently, production of loose flowers is 2073 MT. State ranks no. 8 in terms of cut flower production. Major loose flowers available in the state include Rose, Marigold, Tuberose, etc Cut flowers include Gerbera, Carnation, Gladiolus, Lilium, Rose, Orchid, etc., Apart from local market, flowers are marketed in cities like Delhi, Meerut, Kanpur, Lucknow and Chandigarh as well.
Status of commercial floriculture in J&K
Aesthetic taste has developed among people in our country as well as in J&K. Landscape gardening is now an integral part of home gardening, cities as well as in rural life. Green concept has now developed to an extent that seeds and plants are now imported from European countries. Besides this turf grasses are now in great demand. People are importing turf grasses as well as ornamental plants for landscaping and pot culture from other States. National highway projects and smart city projects have great demand for ornamental flora. As per the report of Assocham only pot plants worth 2 to 3 crores are annually imported in Kashmir from other states. This indicates the scope and potential of landscape gardening in Kashmir. This draws attention to develop organized commercial floriculture units which in turn will help in entrepreneurship development and livelihood security aiming empowerment of women, youth and small land holding farmers.
In Kashmir local demand for highway avenue planting, developing parks, home gardens and public gardens is an emerging as well as identified sector which can ensure livelihood security of unemployed youth. Home gardening is a new emerging trend in Kashmir where the average charge per house/hotel/office having an area of 500m2 ranges from Rs 3000 to 4000 for two visits in a month excluding the planting charges. Ornamental annuals & perennials are in great demand. Besides this seeds of annuals are in great demand not at national but at international level as well. Kashmir agro climatic conditions are highly suitable for seed production. To achieve this skilled people and technical knowhow in propagation of ornamentals and utilizing floral wealth for landscape designing is prerequisite. Utilization of Auto CAD and knowing the value of an individual flora as well as its suitability in a particular landscape are the important aspects to be known for successful landscape designing. In Kashmir Srinagar as a city as well as in Towns & villages home gardening is a craze.
As per the First Post 17Th Jan 2020 news 250000 youth are unemployed in J&K government and EDI has put it as a thrust area keeping in view scope. As per Deccan Herald 30th July 2019, 1.5 post graduates are unemployed. And as per Greater Kashmir 29th March 2018 , Lakhs of youth are unemployed and are looking for innovative livelihood options. These belong to families which are having small land holdings or some are landless. Thus such initiative is required where both the sections can be accommodated. Capacity building & skill development through this initiative will fulfill both the causes, one small land holding and leased land criteria can be mitigated.
• J&K has increased tremendously, which is evident from the increase in area from 353 ha in 2015-16 against only 80 ha in 1996
• Production of flowers is estimated to be approximately 1754 MT of loose flowers and 542 million (numbers) of cut flowers.
• i) The concept of flower seed production was the first successful effort in the flower industry during the early 80s.
ii) The concept of the cut flower industry developed in the 1970-80s.
iii) Implementation of Technology mission gave new concept of hi-Tech floriculture approach in state and till date 9 hector has been covered.
Progress of the floriculture business is estimated (75 ha) and 50 Lacs revenue during 1980-81 and 353 hectares and revenue 450 lacs during 2009-2010.
a) Climatic compatibility.
b) Export of floricultural produce has a great scope.
c) Floriculture can be explored as successful business avenue to earn foreign exchange and job opportunities
d) Excellent natural resources for flower industry
E) Temperate ornamental bulb production has a great demand
F) Quality seed production can be ensured.
Initiatives prerequisite boosting up of commercial Floriculture
1) Training cum demonstration on cut Flower crops and Nursery Management on Scientific Lines
2) Skill development in niche area of bulb production
3) Capacity building in Protected cultivation
4) Technical Guidance on Farmers units from planting to post harvest Management
5) Linkage with funding agencies
Cut flowers :
Kashmir climatic conditions are feasible to grow top ranking cut flowers like Lilium, Rose, Carnation Gerbera etc.under open field/low cost polyhouse conditions when there is off season in plains.
Bulb production Niche Area
India imports around 20 crores bulbs of Lilium , Tulip, Hyacinth etc annually from Holland which costs huge foreign exchange. Kashmir is the only place in India suitable for mass scale bulb production of these high valued crops area under bulbsous crops globally is 50000 ha and India has only 3500 ha under this sector that too propagating Gladiolus in 1200 ha followed by tuberose 800 ha. In Dutch market top bulbous crops;
Kalimpong and Sikkim contribute 30—35% of bulb export. Kashmir agro climatic conditions are best suited for bulb production of export potential crops.
Pot Plants and Ornamental Trees and Shrubs
Kashmir valley depends on other states for potted plants and demand is met with turnover of Crores annually. North Eastern Regions ( Sikkim, Gangtok, Kalimpong etc) introduce, produce and supply temperate ornamental pot plants to other states. Camelia, Azalea, temperate Orchid plants, cyclamen, Tuberous Begonia etc are propagated and supplied to northern states including Jammu & Kashmir, H.P Annual turnover of this type of nursury is 2-3 Crores.Uttrakhand ( Bheental, Kainchimorh, Nochukiyataal and Nanital areas) is progressing for supply for pot plants especially pelargonium, Primula, Calceolaria etc to Delhi and allied areas.
90% of flowering potted plants to Delhi and allied areas is supplied from these areas of Uttrakhand with turnover of 1.5-2 Crores annually.
Dharamshala, Kangra, Palampur Belt and Kullu town are now progressing in supply of Ornamental pot plants with turnover of 1-1.5 Crores.
There is a great potential in propagation of pot plants and ornamentals as far as Kashmir is concerned.
Dry Flower industry
USA, UK, Israel, Japan, HongKong, Singhpora and West European countries are excellent for export of dried flowers though they need skills but are easy to understand.
Kashmir agro climatic conditions are highly suitable for cultivation of top 10 aromatic crops including Rose, Lavender etc.The cultivation can be carried out at dry areas where possibility of other crops is not possible and has huge potential.
300-350 million total value of flower seeds worldwide annually. Punjab, Karnataka, Maharashtra and W.B produce the majority of flower seeds. Punjab has 450 hectares under flower seed production with turn over 60 million
Kashmir agro climatic conditions are highly suitable for seed production of annuals like Ageratum, Aster, Antirrhinum, Balsam, Celosia, Cosmos, Candytuft, California, Poppy, Carnation, Galliardia, Gazania, Holly hocks, Heliehrysum, Larkspur, Marigold, Panoy, Phlox, Petunia, Salvia, Verbena, Zinnia, Gypsophilla etc.with high quality standard.
Why Kashmir should focus on development of floriculture industry.
• The global floriculture trade is estimated to touch $100 billion and Indian share 0.59%.Main flower market (Europe and USA) mostly temperate parts so great scope for temperate flower industry. Cheap labour cost and climatic suitability will boost this industry compared to Western countries.
• Monopoly particularly in bulb production under Indian conditions,
Facility of connectivity to national and international market
Production of cut flowers under open field conditions and off season cultivation of flowers for plains of India is the capacity for commercial floriculture activity in Kashmir.
DR NASIR HAMID MASOODI
FACULTY DIVISION OF FLORICULTURE AND LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTURE
SKUAST K SHALIMAR SRINAGAR J&K