Policy hurdles hold back growth in flower exports

March 19, 2019 1:16 AM

With specific export incentives on freight and production, the floriculture sector can double shipments in five years from around $80 million/year now, analysts feel.

Policy hurdles hold back growth in flower exportsPolicy hurdles hold back growth in flower exports

By Prabhudatta Mishra

Exports of flowers had reached a record $144.79 million (`653 crore) in 2006-07, but has since faltered because an exponential growth in land value in cities like Pune and Bangalore has forced many exporters to close their units. With specific export incentives on freight and production, the floriculture sector can double shipments in five years from around $80 million/year now, analysts feel.

“We can boost exports of fresh flower to a very high level with appropriate policy intervention,” said Praveen Sharma, president of Pune-based Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (ISFP). Shipments were worth $78.7 million (`507 crore) in 2017-18 (in fact, exports have been fluctuating in the range of $75-80 million since 2011-12). Industry experts say dry flower has larger share than fresh varieties in the export basket (60:40).

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Sharma said roses have a share of about 95% in India’s fresh flower exports and the major destinations include Japan, the UK, Italy and Greece. Until 2005, flower exports to Europe were routed through Holland, which is the world’s largest trading hub in floriculture. Over the years, exporters have established their own contacts in individual countries and directly sending consignments, said Sharma.

In the initial few years of last decade (2000-10), there were several floriculture units established in the vicinity of Pune and Bangalore, with the focus being on exports of roses. However, many units either closed down or reduced size as land prices skyrocketed during 2005-08.

Some analysts cite the reluctance of exporters to pay royalties to global breeders which makes it impossible for growers to get right varieties at the right time. “Rose farmers are not getting new varieties from overseas breeders due to IPR issues in India,” said S Jafar Naqvi, president of the Indian Flowers and Ornamental Plants Welfare Association. The cost is definitely a factor, but export oriented units must be made competitive through suitable government intervention, he said.

Cut rose was sold at `30-50/piece in the NCR region during this year’s Valentine’s Day, industry officials said. This in comparison with exporters earning 30-60/cent (or `24-48) per rose from the European buyers this year, Sharma said. India’s peak export season (December-February) caters to mainly Valentine’s Day demand.

According to an industry estimate, India had exported roses worth `26-27 crore for this year’s festive season, compared with about `23 crore in 2018.

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