Having won many a heart worldwide over the past few years, Indian flowers have witnessed a steep decline in exports last fiscal on rising demand in the home market and shrinking area under cultivation.
The demand for flowers in India has grown at about 15 per cent on annual basis, and the market is estimated to be around Rs 1,000 crore.
However, flower exports have dipped 25 per cent to Rs 294 crore in 2009-10, from over Rs 368 crore in 2008-09, according to the data of Agricultural & Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA).
Before dipping last fiscal, overseas shipments of Indian flowers were valued at Rs 340 crore in 2007-08. "The slide in flowers export is mainly because the domestic consumption has gone up by 15 per cent," President of Dry Flowers Association of India, with a membership of 100 flower growers and exporters, Atish Puri told PTI.
Besides, many farmers engaged in cultivation of flowers are shifting to production of commercially more paying vegetables and fruits, Puri said, adding that some are also selling off land to real estate builders.
Meanwhile, even as the area under cultivation declines, the domestic demand for flowers is on the rise. "Flowers are in demand in every function at home nowadays and it is growing," said APEDA General Manager R K Boel, Fresh fruit & vegetables. APEDA, a central government enterprises, facilitates export of agri and horticulture produce.
India produces around 1,000 tonnes of flowers annually, with an estimated 65,000 hectares under cultivation. More than two-thirds of the area is devoted to production of traditional flowers like marigold, jasmine, chrysanthemum, asters, cressanda and tuberose.
Karnataka, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh are major flower growing states. India exports flowers mainly to the US, Netherlands, Germany, UK and Ethiopia.