Floriculture struggles to bloom

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ROQUE DIAS | NT
Margao
Floriculture is not a big business in the state as hardly 25 hectare of farmlands is used to raise floriculture crops, which produce some 40 tonne of various flowers every year.
The poor floriculture cultivation fails to meet the rising demands for flowers in the state, which is frequented by lakhs of tourists from across the world.
Experts in agriculture research point out that floriculture has been neglected in Goa: floriculture crops have been less than one per cent of the total horticultural crops.
The dismal situation in the segment has been attributed to poor marketing strategies and inadequate spaces for farmers to sell their flowers.
The agriculture department says that nearly 10 hectare of land is cultivated for raising orchids, zebra flowers, anthurium and other varieties of flowers.
Agriculture director Madhav Kelkar maintains that the department has already adopted strategies to improve marketing chains, and that efforts are on to increase the cultivating areas for floriculture.
The attempts made in the past to give a boost to floriculture has proved ineffective, as poor marketing has played a spoilsport. Farmers rue that proper atmosphere is not created to market their floral products.
“There is an opportunity to boost floriculture in this state so as to make Goa self-sufficient in meeting the demands fuelled by tourism and festivals,” explains Director, ICAR-Goa, E B Chakurkar, who is also the chairman of the Goa state level coordination committee.
The committee has been studying as how to double income of floriculture farmers in Goa.
Chakurkar is of the opinion that panel’s suggestions must be acted upon by the state government to give a push to the business.
It is pertinent to note here that former agriculture minister Vijai Sardesai had made an effort to set up a floriculture industrial estate in the state so as to boost up floriculture and lure the youth to the business.
There are some 100 naturally ventilated polyhouses with an area ranging from 500 to 2000 m2. Besides, there are nearly 100 other polyhouses where high-hybrid flowers are raised. The people who run these polyhouses have burnt their fingers owing to the poor marketing strategies and inadequate spaces for selling the exotic flowers.
The agriculture researchers opine that `heliconia’ is the most suitable crop for coastal areas of Goa, which can turn to the flower variety to turn around floriculture business.
A successful model has already been demonstrated for farmers, who have been informed about the profitability of the crop.
The flower crop can be taken up as an intercrop in coconut plantations: it can fetch an income of up to Rs 60,000 per hectare of land.
The experts explain that Goa is basically a ‘horticulture region’ and sees cultivation of cashews, coconuts, areca nuts, pineapples and other fruits.