By: Pankaj Sood
Solan: After attaining the status of an ‘apple state’, Himachal Pradesh now may soon be known as ‘flower state’ as well. The area under floriculture in the state has increased to 618 hectares, generating business of around Rs 28 crore in 2008-09, whereas in the year 1993-94 merely 30 hectares area was under floriculture. Farmers in the state are getting attracted towards cultivation of various flower varieties and the government is providing 80% subsidy to install greenhouses for this purpose. This was stated in the ongoing national symposium on “Life-style floriculture: Challenges and opportunities” at YS Parmar Horticulture University here at Nauni today.
The three-day symposium, which stated on 19th April, was inaugurated by the state chief secretary Ash Swaroop. The symposium is being attended by over 100 scientists, managers and progressive farmers from across the country. During the course of the symposium, there will be eight technical sessions on different topics related to R&D, marketing, & technology used for floriculture. Participants would also be taken to the modern floriculture village Mahog near Chail in Solan district and university experimental areas.
Participating experts opined that at present horticulture industry is a rapidly expanding enterprise, registering an appreciable growth all over the country. Spectacular changes have been witnessed in Indian floriculture in terms of area, production and exports during last two decades. Swaroop while addressing the participants pointed out that water management is the core issue for cultivation of flowers. She also lauded the efforts of state government to support floriculture industry with infrastructure development, irrigation facilities and planting material of elite germplasm.
“Horticulture is the best option for a state like Himachal Pradesh and the university is doing wonders in this field,” said Dr HP Singh, DDD (Horticulture), ICAR, and president, Indian Society of Ornamental Horticulture. He also conferred fellowship to Dr T Jankiram, Dr YC Gupta and Dr KV Prasad for their distinguished services in floriculture research and education and also released two publications on the occasion.
Dr KR Dhiman, vice-chancellor of the university, informed that the university has done a commendable job in genetic improvement, production technology, propagation of elite germplasm, post-harvest technology, seed production and including management of diseases, insect and pest of flowers. Dr NK Dadlani was presented with “Lotus Puruskar”, Avtar Singh with “Rose Puruskar” and Dr HP Singh with “Life-time achievement award” while Dr KR Dhiman, VC, was honored for his distinguished services.
It may be noted that high altitude of the region, cold winds and moist soil are most suitable for floriculture. Exquisite commercial varieties of flowers like Gaillardia, Lilly, Veronica, Verbena, Tiarella, Tradescantia, Sedum, Scabiosa, Rudbeckia, Polemonium, Peony, Penstemon, and Geraniums and Indian red roses, that are much sought after in domestic as well as in European markets, are grown in the state. Because of the growing demand for flowers around the world, many farmers have shifted from growing vegetables to flowers.