It is that time of the year again… a day when love is celebrated across the world in the form of Valentine’s Day (February 14). And Bengaluru has a small part to play in love blossoming across borders and seas.
The city, known for its superior quality of roses, is a major exporter of red roses.
This time around, over five million stems of roses are expected to be exported to Europe, the Gulf, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and other countries, apart from meeting the demand in major cities within the country.
According to Anne Ramesh, president of the South India Floriculture Association (SIFA), the city produces the finest quality of red rose varieties — Taj Mahal and First Red. A small percentage of farmers also cultivate Grand Gala, which is now said to be outdated.
“The export of roses begins usually in the end of January and continues till a few days before February 14. This year too, like last year, the export will be around five million stems. However, we expect the sale to come down by 10 per cent, as Valentine’s Day is on a Sunday,” he said.
The flowers the city produces are said to be superior compared to those grown in Pune, which is another major exporter. This, Mr. Ramesh says, is because climatic conditions here are more conducive to rose cultivation. The roses are grown in a 50-km radius around the city, especially in the Hosur and Doddaballapur belt. “There are a number of growers is the city as well. There are around 15 exporters, over 50 growers with mid-sized farms and nearly 75 small and marginal farmers. In Pune, there may be around 30 growers,” he added.
V. Jhansi Lakshmi, vice-president of SIFA, said that while the city is known for Taj Mahal, First Red and Grand Gala, little is being done to explore and cultivate other varieties. “Taj Mahal is the most sought after, as it is not just commercially viable, but also known for its bud size, colour and stem length. This variety has seen a spike in exports over the past five years,” she said.
Since commercial viability is the most important factor for growers, not many explore cultivation of other varieties.
‘IFAB needs govt support’
“Flower auctions could well be an all-year affair and Bengaluru a major flower exporter if the International Flower Auction Bangalore (IFAB) Ltd. gets the much needed government support,” says V. Jhansi Lakshmi, vice-president of South India Floriculture Association. She told The Hindu that IFAB, run by the Karnataka government with support from growers, could function better if it had a full-time managing director or chief executive officer. “We are almost there. IFAB is the first in the country to have an electronic auction clock that is modelled on the Dutch flower auction clock at Alasmeer in The Netherlands.” At present, 90 per cent of the exports comprise roses. “If IFAB gets government support and an online auctioning facility is set up, the city could emerge as a major exporter of anthuriums, gerberas, carnations, gladiolas and even green fillers for bouquets,” she added.
Source : The Hindu, Feb, 2016