With business failing to blossom, curtain falls on Himachal’s first flower market in Parwanoo

By, Shimla
Jun 07, 2023 01:03 PM IST

As many as ten shops at Himachal’s first flower market in Parwanoo will be merged into the adjacent apple mandi and an auction will be held soon

A little over a year after being set up amid fanfare, Himachal’s first flower market in Parwanoo has been closed in view of the business running dry.

Himachal has been pushing for the cultivation of orchids, which have a high demand in the market. (HT File)
Himachal has been pushing for the cultivation of orchids, which have a high demand in the market. (HT File)

“No flowers have been sold here this year yet,” said Gian Chand, who ran a flower business in Parwanoo. Resultantly, he and several other florists have handed over the keys to government-owned shops amid heavy losses.

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Solan mandi committee secretary Ravindra Sharma said as many as ten shops will be merged into the apple mandi and an auction will be held soon.

With agents refusing to do business, the decision was taken to merge the flower market with the adjacent apple mandi and state agriculture minister Chander Kumar has given directions for the same.

Lamenting that lack of interest from traders outside of Himachal, many producers had expressed disinterest in setting up shop at the market. The lack of a proper storage space compounded the problem as produce would get spoilt often.

Flower production is ready in Dangri, Ghatti, Kandaghat, Deothi, Dharampur, Bhojangar and Chail areas of district Solan including Kullu, Sirmaur, and Shimla. The growers here are being forced to send their flowers to Chandigarh and Delhi.

Aimed at reviving the flower business in the state, the market failed to live up to the expectation with all stakeholders, including flower growers, traders and middlemen, reporting losses.

Following a rapid decline, worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Himachal Pradesh government had drawn new plans to revive floriculture. Plans have been made to push orchid cultivation to help generate income and reduce the state growers’ dependency on fruit cultivation.

Under the World Bank-funded horticulture development project, the state government will provide help to farmers and orchard owners. Technical expert Kushal Singh Mehta, meanwhile, said the state plans to introduce intensive flower cultivation in order to increase the income of farmers and orchards.

“More production on less land will give additional income to farmers and gardeners and help bolster commercial cultivation of orchid flowers in the state,” a horticulture officer who visited the Central Orchid Research Center, Sikkim, for research with a team said.

The visit was aimed at having the team receive training on cultivation and marketing of orchids in Sikkim, known for its large-scale commercial cultivation of orchid flowers. Sikkim and Himachal share a similar climate pattern and cultivation of orchids, which have a high demand in the market, could prove beneficial for farmers. A single orchid plant is sold for 250 to 300. It can be grown commercially in nets or shed houses, although training is necessary for this.

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    Gaurav Bisht heads Hindustan Times’ Himachal bureau. He covers politics in the hill state and other issues concerning the masses.

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