Floriculture in the Old Mysuru Region – A Perspective

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Preface

Floriculture in the Old Mysuru Region; We are bringing out our Analysis of the issues faced by the floriculture industry in Karnataka currently, and our step-by-step approach to solve them. We will come out with our roadmap to modernise it and transform it to bring it on par with other industries – IT, manufacturing, banking etc. We will do our narration through a few articles and it will be in the form of a series. 

This is an introductory article. Happy reading.

Disclaimer

Though floriculture is a pan-karnataka OR pan-India industry, due to the sad state-of-affairs it is in, the problems faced by the growers are also pan-karnataka OR pan-India ones. A series of articles is being written to address the issues faced by the stakeholders of the industry, and give a step-by-step roadmap to modernize it in order to make it robust, creating millions of decently paid jobs in the rural areas. Only a thriving floriculture industry can put a “smile” back on the faces of the flower growers, and hence it is the duty of the government to make it happen one way OR the other.

Why we chose Mysuru Region?

The Mysuru region is chosen to do a pilot project there, as the region’s once thriving flower growing tradition is dying a slow death, due to various reasons. As a consequence, the growers are selling their lands at pittance and migrating to big cities to earn their living by doing odd jobs, while living in shanty slums. 

We, at www.mysuruinfrahub.com , deeply feel that it needs to be stopped, and the only way to do that is to make the floriculture industry as attractive as Information Technology (IT) OR banking industry. 

While piloting in the Mysuru region, we can iron out the chinks, and create a TEMPLATE to build a rich floriculture industry in the region, and replicate it all across the state.

We want a multi-billion-dollar vibrant floriculture Industry in Karnataka, up and running within a few years time, and that is our intention.

Floriculture in the Old Mysuru Region: flowers
IFAB | Pic Source: ifabindia.org

Floriculture in the old Mysuru Region in Brief

Flowers Grown in the Region

Old Mysuru region is blessed with good climate to grow variety of flowers such as  Mysuru mallige (Jasminum grandiflorum), Kanakambra (crossandra), Kakada (Jasminum multiform), Sevanthige (Chrysanthemum), Marigold (Marigold flower), Kolavey (Tuberose), Gulabi (rose flower), Champaka (Magnolia champaka) and so on, which are known for their unique fragrance, floral and textural beauty. Cultivation of several ornamental flowers like anthurium and gladys has been attempted in a small way. 

Neither Growers NOR End Users Benefit out of Trade

Most of the flowers grown in the region are transported in bulk to major cities – Bangaluru, Chennai, Tirupathi, Mumbai, Hyderabad etc and sold to retailers across various markets in these cities. The bulk consumers buy directly from wholesalers who get their supply from middle-men OR brokers, who in turn buy from the farmers directly. The products change hands many times in between selling by the farmer and buying by the end consumer, thus jacking up the price in the process. The farmers get a pittance while end-consumers pay through their nose. Neither the farmer NOR the end-consumer benefit in this trade. It is always the middlemen who take big cuts out of trade as commissions.

Other than that, the industry uses rudimentary storage and the transportation infrastructure, and due to that over 30% of flowers get spoiled and wasted in the trade.

Growers Suffer the Most

Floriculture is not a lucrative profession for the growers because of the impediments discussed above, as the return on his investment is steadily falling because the cost of cultivation is shooting up steadily. As a result, the farmers are giving up on growing flowers, selling their lands for a pittance and migrating to big cities for survival.   The floriculture suffers from the same distress as the farming, in general, suffers in India. It is really sad to see the farmers suffer.

However, there is a huge demand for flowers in the developed countries like western Europe, USA, Australia, NewZealand, Japan etc. which can be serviced at large, only if the floriculture industry is holistically developed by making use of modern technology, adapt best practices and by bringing professional management through corporatisation. However, the government has to bring in “Progressive policies” to promote trade.

Floriculture in the Old Mysuru Region: flowers
IFAB | Pic Source: ifabindia.org

Floriculture Market Size

Size of Global Floriculture Industry

Floriculture deals with the cultivation of ornamental plants, flowering for pot plants, nurseries etc. The floriculture products are also used as raw materials in manufacturing of cosmetics, perfumes, and in the pharmaceutical industry all over the world. The Global Floriculture market is expected to reach USD 77.3 billion by 2028 growing at a CAGR of 8.8% during 2018 to 2026. In 2018 the market size was USD 43.23 billion.

Rise in specialized retail channels in developed countries is a factor driving the market growth. 

Size of India’s Flower Export Business

As per a report published by “Agriculture & processed food products export development authority” (APEDA), Ministry of commerce & Industry, Government of India,  India’s total export of flowers was Rs. 541.61 Crores/75.89 USD Millions in 2019-20. The major importing countries were U S A, Netherland, Germany, U K, and UAE . There are more than 300 export-oriented units in India. More than 50% of the floriculture units are based in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. With the technical collaborations from foreign companies, the Indian floriculture industry is poised to increase its share in world trade.

Indian Contribution to Global Floriculture Trade

Following figures throws light on the true promise that floriculture holds for India. The global demand for cut flowers, buds, and ornamental plants is over USD 43.3 billion and the approximate figures of the market share are as follows. 

Netherlands – 55%

Columbia – 12%

Italy – 6%

Israel – 4%

India – 0.6%

Rest of the world – 23%

For the size of India, the figure is abysmally low and can be improved upon if there is a strong will.  

Jobs

Floriculture as an Industry hasn’t made any dent in creating decently paid jobs in big numbers, as yet. Though Karnataka, being one of the two forerunners in this game, has just over 18,000 hectares under floriculture cultivation, people hardly know about the industry. In fact, Karnataka has been into the floriculture business for over 300 years. The Tigala community near Devanahalli and Chikkaballapur are extremely good at growing flowers, and they have been playing this game well. The export ventures of a few units have created some jobs, but not to its full potential. Nothing to write great about.

Floriculture in the Old Mysuru Region: flowers
IFAB | Pic Source: ifabindia.org

The International Flower Auction Bangalore (IFAB)

In the 1990s Karnataka government had started flower auction services through the State-owned Karnataka Agro Industries Corporation (KAIC) in order to tap the export potential. However, the required professionalism was missing in their operations. To professionalize and streamline the operations, in the year 2003 an operating company controlled by the flower growers, took over the operations of the flower auction centre run by KAIC, which is the only organized flower auction center in India currently. The South India Floriculture Association (SIFA) has a 51 per cent stake in IFAB, while the small growers hold 16 per cent stake and the rest of the stake is held by the Karnataka government.

The presence of SIFA has helped in pump-priming the flower export business that made Bangauru, a top flower exporting center in the whole of south asia.

Floriculture as an Industry in India

The Floriculture industry in India is divided into two, the one that meets the local demand and the other that meets the global demands through exports. 

There is a huge domestic demand for locally grown traditional flowers used in temples, and during all kinds of ceremonies, festivals etc. The price of flowers shoots up during festivals mostly due to inefficiencies in the supply chain, and also due to flower hoarding by the brokers/ wholesalers and others. It is them who make a killing during festivals. The small farmers who lack big bargaining power are always at the disadvantage positions, as they get pittance for the resources (labour & money) put into growing flowers. 

This requires urgent reforms and “Agriculture Policy 2020” is the step in that direction.

Conclusion

The Floriculture in the Old Mysuru Region has a great potential to permanently transform our villages and the farming community into something great. The next few articles will deliberate on the steps to be taken to unleash the caged “tiger” called floriculture to bring in great strides in the economy of India in general, and Mysuru region/ Karnataka in particular.

Read Also:- Bidar Chamarajanagar Kalyana Patha – An Expressway to Prosperity


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