Domestic markets wither, exports bloom

Published on November 12, 2021 by

Farmers say, they are facing major losses despite higher investments in flower cultivation.

Bengaluru, November 11, 2021

Shubhangi Mishra

Floriculture farmers and vendors have seen a decline of more than 50 percent in domestic sales despite the value of exports rising by almost three percent.

Sawood Pasha, a flower vendor at KR Market said, that they used to make around Rs. 15000 – 20000 but daily sales have come down to  Rs. 5000-6000 rupees now. The number of customers falls by almost 70 percent during the monsoon season, he added.

The Joint Directorate of Horticulture, Dr. M Vishwanath, said, “The situation has improved in comparison with the last year. With functions and marriages happening again, the usage and production of flowers is improving because of it. There’s not a big surge in production and sales. It’s too early to predict increase in production because of the market is just picking up.”

He adds that in order to combat the situation, the Government of Karnataka gave a package of Rs. 25,000 per hectare which has come down to Rs, 15,000 per hectare for flower production

Puttarajaiah GS, a farmer, said, their cost of production was increasing drastically and they are only getting a return of Rs. 2 lakh on investing Rs. 5 lakh. He also added that he took loans to pay for fertilizers, and drip sheets which ideally should have been provided by the government. However, he added that no aid or subsidy was given to them by the government. “With the losses all farmers were constantly incurring, they would be left with no choice but to consume poison or commit suicide,” Puttarajaiah said.

The floriculture export market, on the other hand, has risen since the lockdown was lifted. Economist Dr. Satyajit Deshpande said that in comparison with 2019-2020 the volume of flowers exported has decreased by seven percent mainly due to the Covid-19 induced lockdowns. However, the total value of flowers exports has increased by around three percent because India is selling flowers at a higher price in the foreign market.

A National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management (NIAEM) report shows Karnataka produces 75 percent of India’s commercial flowers. The state has 18000 hectares under floriculture cultivation.

India exports flowers to UAE country, Japan, Australia, Europe, and USA along with Russia, China, Malaysia, and New Zealand mainly during Christmas, New Year and Valentine’s Day. Dr. Deshpande suggested that both production and export rate could improve if crops are efficiently irrigated, farmers are provided early rainfall predictions, and given subsidized transport and equipment. It would be beneficial for all farmers, vendors and exporters, he added.

Lack of skilled manpower and poor marketing strategies are a major reason for India’s absence in the top 15 floriculture exporters. However, Vishwanath said, he is expecting good exports  for new year’s but with the surge in Covid-19 cases Asian countries there is a lot of uncertainty involved in the market.

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