Even as flower growers in Maharashtra are expecting a good season for the Velentine’s Day next month, the changing climate is giving them some anxious moments. There has been an increased acreage of roses in and around the Pune region, one of the main floriculture hubs in the state. However, the weather this year has been relatively warmer, as compared with last year.
“We have higher number warmer days than last year, which may result early flush in some cases, though the period between January 20 and 30, will play a key role, Praveen Sharma, president, Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (ISFP), said. “Apart from the temperatures, it is the cloudy climate which slows the growth of flowers.
So if there is a possibility of early flush due to warm days, there is cloudy climate to rescue from early flush. The morning fog is also helping those who had fear of early flush. In the month of December 2015, we had 23 days which were warmer by 2-6 degree Celsius, compared with same period in December 2014,” he said. Usually, flower growers from Talegaon expect to export nearly 1 crore stems in the Valentine’s day season. The majority of growers in the region are depending on red roses, which comprise almost 70% of the roses grown in the area. A popular variety among the red roses is called ‘Top Secret’, a variety breed by a leading French breeder called Meilland from Leon, southern France. This variety is in great demand among florists, due to its bigger buds and long stems. The second most popular variety is Bordeaux, bred by a leading breeder Korde in Germany; this variety too is popular and known for its very good vase life.
The importance of this valuable period draws from the fact that, an acre of red rose plantation can produce between 70,000 to 100,000 flower stems, in this period of January 25 to February 14. An average price for an exporter for these flowers can be Rs 15-35 per stem depending upon the stem lengths and market, Sharma pointed out. That means an acre has potential to generate revenue of R10-16 lakh, in just two weeks of the Valentine’s day season, a pre-season survey conducted by the association says. The Valentine’s Day period for the growers begins right from the first week of December, when they begin to offer cuts to programme their flower flush for valentine period, which falls between February 1 and 13 and most export shipments begin from February 1 to 10. The domestic market too will be highly lucrative this year, as the wedding season will also begin from January 20, followed by the Valentine’s Day season.
Floriculturists earn three times more profit in just the first 10 days of February due to the worldwide demand for roses on account of Valentine’s Day. While a rose may cost anything between Rs 2 and Rs 4 on other days, it costs a minimum of Rs 12 on Valentine’s Day. The biggest market for Indian roses remains Europe, where nearly 1 crore rose stems are exported annually. The UK and Japan are other major markets. Preparations have already begun for the 2016 Valentine’s Day season with nearly 2,000 acres being planted. It takes about 45-50 days for roses to bloom after the process of bending and budding. The major areas in Maval producing roses include Takve Budruk, Mau, Vahangaon, Shindewadi, Ingalun, Ansute, Parithewadi, Kiwale, Kashaal, Bhoyare, Kondiwade, Pavalewadi and Shetewadi, among others.Talegaon has about 2,000 hectares under floriculture and does business of crores of rupees on a daily basis.
The flower growers in the region have seen many seasons right from 1991, when the first flowers were grown and exported to Europe. “We are in the 25th year of export-oriented flower growing in the region. Hence, the experienced growers and technocrats are prepared to handle the slight variations in the climate,” Sharma pointed out.
Today, Talegoan exports nearly 60% of its total flower production. The remaining is sold in the domestic market, primarily Pune, Mumbai, Nagpur, Delhi, Lucknow and Kolkata. Around 80% floriculturists prefer growing Dutch roses, 18% grow Gerbera and about two per cent grow Carnesia, says Bhegde. Varieties of roses such as Top Secret, Bordeaux and Grand Gala, Yellow Gold, Avalanche, Amazon Orange, White Tropical, Revival and others grow here.