Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government has launched a Rs 39.03 crore project to boost cut flower exports.
`Promotion of Commercial Floriculture’ envisages increasing production by 68 percent in the next four years. Under the project, the government aims to produce over 27 crore ornamental nursery plants and 4000 liters of aromatic oils worth Rs 4.8 crore annually.
Currently, the annual output of floriculture in Jammu and Kashmir is Rs 28 crores. Under this project, the government is expecting to increase the yearly output to Rs. 85 crore per year in the next four years.
As per the project document, 2.25 hectares of land will be utilized for exotic cut flower production. “Another 24 hectares will be added for the nursery area. Four clusters of 85 hectares each will be utilized for lavender cultivation. The project will support each production cluster with end-to-end value chain, post-harvest, and processing facilities, branding, market access, and capacity building of human resources for increasing employment in floriculture and allied sectors,” it said.
The project’s key outputs include upgrading 54 nursery units to high-tech operations, re-operationalizing 150 units, and bringing additional 400 hectares of land under cultivation. Besides. 330 new enterprises will be created under this project.
The project is expected to generate 2,000 jobs in the next four years as the new growers will be trained in aromatic flower, bulb, and seed production. “It also includes exposure visits and training for stakeholders, and business development and contract farming agreements with breeder and seed companies,” the document said.
The project also includes technology upgrading for existing ornamental nurseries, building aggregation platforms, and post-harvest interventions including on-farm distillation units, seed processing units, walk-in cold storage, transport, branding, and marketing efforts.
Professor Imtiyaz Nazki, head of the floriculture division at SKUAST-K told The Kashmir Monitor that the project is aimed to meet the floriculture demand in the national and international markets.
“We had many interventions before in floriculture but they were not cluster based. This project focuses on the creation of nurseries and increase in the production of cut flower, aromatic and other flower varieties. It will solve marketing problems of growers as a robust value chain development from farm to market is envisaged,” he said.
Professor Nazki said the flower market in India is estimated at Rs 22000 crore. Jammu and Kashmir contribute only Rs 25 crore. “So, the focus is the cultivation of commercially high-value flowers including rose, Lilium, and others to meet the demand and economically benefit our growers,” he added.
He said the latest technology including cold storage, seed germination, and oil extraction units are introduced under the project.