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Himachal Turns to Sikkim's Orchids to Revive Its Struggling Floriculture Industry

A team of horticulture officers is studying ways to develop commercial growing of orchids at the Central Orchid Research Centre in Sikkim, which has a similar environment to Himachal Pradesh. The employees will also be trained on orchid marketing.

Shivam Dwivedi
Himachal Turns to Sikkim's Orchids to Revive Its Struggling Floriculture Industry (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Himachal Turns to Sikkim's Orchids to Revive Its Struggling Floriculture Industry (Photo Source: Pixabay)

The state government of Himachal Pradesh is working towards revitalizing the floriculture sector by introducing orchid cultivation. The government will support farmers and orchardists with orchid flower cultivation as part of the World Bank-funded Horticulture Development Project. It is believed that increased productivity on less land will increase growers' income.

According to floriculture specialist Kushal Singh Mehta, extensive flower cultivation will benefit farmers. When the team returns, it will hold awareness camps at the block level to educate farmers and fruit growers about orchid cultivation.

Apart from orchids, the government's Aroma Mission plans to boost lavender growth in Chamba district's Churah and Pangi, which border Jammu and Kashmir and have comparable climatic conditions. Lavender cultivation has grown in popularity in J&K because of the great yields and minimal input and maintenance costs. Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu has directed the chief secretary to raise the issue with the Centre in order to speed up the process of launching the lavender cultivation project.

Flower production in the Shimla area has grown over the last decade, but farmers are increasingly preferring crops to make up for losses over the last two years. Chrysanthemum, carnation, gladiolus, rose, gerbera, and lily are produced in villages around Jubbarhatti's airport. The Covid epidemic and the ensuing restrictions imposed by it have had a negative impact on flower agriculture in Himachal Pradesh, with the area under floriculture declining by 47% in five years.

In 1995-96, the Churah Valley Vegetable and Agriculturists' Cooperative Society was established with 20 farmers, leading to a floral revolution where almost 400 farms were growing flowers. However, the number of florists is gradually decreasing, and farmers have incurred losses of 25 lakh in flower growing over two years.

OP Sharma, a retired customs employee and progressive farmer, explained that transportation and low demand have significantly impacted the flower business. Due to limited transportation options, farmers used Himachal Road deliver Corporation buses to deliver their produce to Delhi's Ghazipur market.

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