In order to boost the production of marigold plant in the state and meet the rising demand for it, Punjab Agricultural University's (PAU) department of floriculture is researching on how to develop 'heat resistant' marigold varieties, which the university wants to release in the near future.
As per the floriculture experts, marigold is mainly cultivated in the winter season and as it cannot tolerate heat, its production declines in the summer season. However, the experts are confident that with the new 'heat resistant' varieties, they will be able to engage more farmers in marigold cultivation and thus make Punjab will no more be dependent on Haryana and UP for fulfilling the demand for the plant in the state.
"According to Punjab's department of horticulture's 2012-13 report, Sangrur and Patiala are the districts leading in marigold production. The new summer varieties will enthrall more farmers to take up its cultivation. This will also boost them towards much needed crop diversification and will make them go beyond the monotonous wheat paddy cycle", said Premjit Singh, head of floriculture department.
On being asked how expensive the cultivation of marigold was, he said, "Out of the various varieties, marigold is cheapest and easiest to cultivate. Even small scale farmers with small land holdings can cultivate this plant. Wheat and paddy may not give them assured income and profit, but this crop can. To begin on one acre land, `1.50 lakh is required and there are not much irrigation, pesticides and insecticides costs."
Mohinder Singh Dosanjh, an expert from PAU's agriculture research council (ARC), said, "PAU's research on summer varieties will certainly boost marigold cultivation, but the state government also needs to play an active role. As of now, there are no flower markets, storage facilities and subsidies on cultivation, and because of this many farmers are not willing to cultivate flowers. There is need to push floriculture as it has huge demand and offers assured profits."
Marigold cultivation in Punjab
Districts Area (hectare)
SAS Nagar 21
(Source: department of horticulture, Punjab: 2012-13 report)
Marigold has huge demand all year round
Can mature within two months after seeds are sowed
Currently, Punjab is dependent upon Haryana and UP, especially during summer season to meet the demands
With development of summer varieties by PAU, Punjab will be no more be dependent on other states
There is need for flower market, storage facilities and subsidies by the state government to enthrall more farmers towards floriculture