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Prices dip as local flowers bloom

- This New Year’s eve, booming floriculture makes state self-sufficient in most varieties

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 31: The price of flowers this New Year’s eve is lower as compared to last year because of the availability of locally-grown varieties.

Dutch roses (also known as Bangalore roses) are selling at Rs 15 a piece, higher than the usual Rs 10 to Rs 12 a week ago. Traders predict that the price will come down by Rs 3 to Rs 5 within a day or two because there is enough stock of local flowers this year.

Last year, a single Dutch rose sold at Rs 20 around this time.

The fall in prices can be attributed to Odisha’s success in floriculture. With two facilities in the state — Ugratara in Khurda district and another near Tangi in Cuttack district — farmers are reaping rose and gerbera harvests to fulfil the winter and festive needs. This has made florists and flower enthusiasts happy.

“Last year, we purchased roses (20 in one bundle) for Rs 240, but yesterday, the price was Rs 150 a bundle. So, the retailer can sell the roses at Rs 15 a piece,” said Ashruranjan Satpathy, president of the Bhubaneswar Florists’ Association.

Even the much-sought-after lilium is selling at a cheaper price this year. A three-bud stem this year costs Rs 100, two buds Rs 70 and a single bud Rs 50. Last year, the prices at this time of the year were Rs 150, Rs 100 and Rs 70, respectively.

“Earlier, flowers such as Dutch rose, gerbera and lilium came from Bangalore. But this winter, we have flowers coming from the MGM Agri Venture in Ugratara and Bhumi Agrotech in Tangi. I hope the local supplies will be enough for the entire state this winter,” said a senior officer of the horticulture directorate, adding that lilium was not grown commercially in the state.

The officer said weather conditions for commercial floriculture in the state remained friendly only from October to March. Therefore, the state has to depend on Bangalore during the rest of the year. MGM Agri Venture director Subrat Prusty said: “Both the private units are yielding between 10 lakh roses and 20 lakh gerberas a year. So, other than lilium, the flower requirement is almost met during winter. This has also inspired local farmers and if they take up farming as it is done in case of gladiolus, the floriculture scenario will change.” An official of the horticulture department said there were proposals to start at least eight floriculture units at various places in Khurda, Balangir, Kalahandi and Sambalpur, which would increase the possibility of exporting flowers such as roses and gerberas. However, the official said Odisha had become self-sufficient when it came to gladiolus. The state produces 23 crore stems of gladiolus a year.

“Our gladiolus stems are on par with the other production centres and this has become possible with free distribution of seeds among farmers,” the official said.

“In Koraput, Phulbani and Mayurbhanj districts, there are many pockets that are suitable for producing flowers in green houses. But, private players are not coming forward because of the Maoist threat,” said another official.

State government officials are planning to introduce gladiolus to farmers in Pattangi of Koraput district and Daringbadi in Phulbani. The Ugratara facility is going to produce exclusive varieties of orchids, bird of paradise and lilium flowers in the near future.

“The flower production scene with Dutch roses has become so encouraging that in winter and seasons when marriages are not held, we are exporting the excess production to Hyderabad. This has never happened in the floriculture history of Odisha,” said Prusty.