A rose is a rose is a...Taj Mahal
The floral wonder with a one-metre-long stem and six-cm head has been created in Amudagondapalli, a tiny village in south India. The roses are bred by Dutch company Morheim Roses exclusively for Tanflora, which is the country's first floriculture cooperative farm.
Let a hundred Taj Mahals bloom! Yes indeed - the Taj Mahal in question is a new variety of deep red rose and it is wowing the world.
The floral wonder with a one-metre-long stem and six-cm head has been created in Amudagondapalli, a tiny village in south India.
It has been bred by Dutch company Morheim Roses exclusively for Tanflora, which is India's first floriculture cooperative farm located in Amudagondapalli near Hosur in Krishnagiri district of Tamil Nadu.
"The new breed of roses which we have registered as Taj Mahal will certainly dominate the world of roses in the days to come," Najeeb Ahmed, the managing director of Tanflora, told IANS.
However, for Valentine's Day that fell on Thursday this year, Tanflora test-marketed a few thousands of the Taj Mahal variety of roses. Tanflora is a Tamil Nadu government joint venture.
The global floriculture market's response to Taj Mahal "is tremendous", says Ahmed.
For instance, a big importer from Sydney in Australia said: "Taj Mahal is simply beautiful and will rule the rose market for the next few years."
Rose importers from Dubai, which is emerging as a big floriculture hub, have already placed orders for half a million of these roses for the next Valentine's. In fact, the Gulf countries want "only Taj Mahal" for next year.
With orders gushing in from across the world, especially European countries, Tanflora has decided to grow 7.5 million Taj Mahals on five hectares of its 22-hectare farm land.
"At least 10 per cent of our produce will be Taj Mahals," says Najeeb.
According to a senior Tamil Nadu government official, the Dutch breeders would visit Amudagondapalli, which is less than 50 km from Bangalore, to discuss large-scale cultivation of Taj Mahals.
With Taj Mahal creating a flutter in the rose industry, Tanflora has decided to peg the exotic variety at a premium rate - at least one euro each as against Rs. 10 or Rs. 20 for an ordinary piece of cut rose.
For this Valentine's, Tanflora exported as many as 2.5 million roses to various countries, making up one-fifth of India's total rose exports. According to the Agriculture and Processed Food Export Development Authority, India's share of the global export market is just about one per cent. But south India's Taj Mahal is not just another rose.