The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bengal blooms far and wide
- Dutch auction centre nod seals global demand for tuberoses

Flowers from Bengal can now reach any corner of the world. The state has become a member of one of the largest auction centres in the Netherlands — FloraHolland. This will enable the West Bengal State Food Processing and Horticultural Development Corporation, whose flower exports were restricted to the Arab countries, London and the Netherlands, to reach out to Germany, France, the UK, the US, Canada and Japan.

FloraHolland has five bases in the Netherlands — Naaldwijk, Rijnsburg, Bleiswijk, Zon and Eelde. Products are supplied by growers from the Netherlands, Africa, Israel, South America, Asia and other countries. With 4,500 buyers at FloraHolland turning to 26 auction clocks spread across various locations, it will be possible for growers in Bengal to have their products, especially tuberoses, sent all over the world.

Starting this week, Bengal’s tuberoses will be auctioned on Thursdays at Naaldwijk, after being collected by officials of FloraHolland at Amsterdam. The horticultural corporation started supplying flowers to the Netherlands from last December via Dutch traders. But now, the direct access will enable it to reach a wider market.

From a monthly supply of 10,000 stalks occasionally, the tuberose export inventory now stands at 30,000 stalks a month. Even the export flow will now be regular. With Rs 5.1 lakh-worth of tuberoses being exported to the auction centre in the Netherlands every month, there is a possibility of improving further on this market, as the exporter has already put a stamp of approval on the quality of the bloom.

“Tuberoses from Bengal have won hearts in the Netherlands, though foreign dealers are very particular about the quality of the blooms. However, we have to step up on our gladioli, coxcomb and roses,” admitted N. Hazra, managing director of the horticultural corporation.

The state is already asking its growers in North 24 Parganas — at Barasat and Rajarhat — to boost their tuberose supply. A hunt is on for better techniques of tuberose production, especially at Baruipur, Sonarpur, Diamond Harbour and Ranaghat.

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