Himachal Pradesh will spread its fragrance during the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi as the state has got bulk orders to supply flowers, chiefly roses, carnations and marigolds, during the event.
"The organisers have placed orders worth Rs.30 crore with the state for supplying flowers during the Games. The order would further increase as the date (for the Oct 3-14 Games) approaches," Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told IANS.
The state is known for growing marigolds, carnations, tulips, lilies, gladioli, chrysanthemums and roses. Approximately 681 hectares of land is under flower cultivation and 2,800 farmers are involved in it. In 2009-10, the state conducted business worth Rs.41.8 crore in flowers.
Dhumal said to supply quality flowers during the Games, the farmers have been motivated to grow high-yielding varieties and use modern technologies like greenhouses.
BS Guleria, the assistant floriculturist in the state horticulture department, said: "The demand during the Games would be more of carnations and roses. We are advising farmers to prune the roses in such a way that they start giving the first flush of blooms in October."
Many pockets in Solan, Shimla, Sirmaur, Mandi, Kullu, Bilaspur and Chamba districts have made a name for themselves in the flower business.
Jaipal Chauhan, a farmer near Bilaspur town, said: "We have more than 10,000 plants of exotic roses and these would be in full bloom in the first week of October. We have also been asked to supply around 1,000 buds daily during the Games."
Chauhan said his roses are otherwise finding a place in the markets of Chandigarh and Delhi and he claims they always command a good price because of high quality and optimum size.
Rajeev Phull, a farmer in Solan district, said: "We have got an order to supply rose buds at Rs.20 each. On an average, 5,000 rose buds will reach Delhi from this area (Kunihar) alone."
He said most of the farmers have got orders almost two months ago from a Delhi-based florist.
The Churah valley in Chamba district has made its name in the cultivation of carnations of various colours.
"The carnation grown in this area is always in high demand in the country. We have got orders to supply a bunch of carnations (20 stems) at between Rs.140 and Rs.200 - depending on the market," Yogesh Gupta, a grower in the Churah valley, said.
Dhumal said the state government would not procure the flowers for the Games. "The farmers will directly supply flowers to the organisers."
Horticulture department director Gurdev Singh said most of the farmers are cultivating exotic rose varieties as their demand would be high during the mega event.
"The farmers are also getting orders to provide flowerpots and loose flowers, mainly marigold, for decorations at various stadiums and other venues," he added.
According to him, rose and marigold grown in the state are giving a tough competition to those grown in Jammu and Kashmir and Uttarakhand.