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Pakistan: big opportunities ahead for floriculture

Pakistan aims to promote the lucrative and conducive business of floriculture that would help empower women and youth of marginalized communities to raise ornamental flowers and tap the unexplored global market offerings billions of dollars' foreign exchange.

Gilgit Baltistan (GB) has been chosen as the environment of the area was suitable for flower production. The region has low rainfall and a moderate climate which is a prerequisite for better flower production. Floriculture could be promoted in GB through the cultivation of high-value flowers.

The project has been named "Promotion of Floriculture in Gilgit Baltistan (GB)", and consultant Strategic Agri-Management and Researcher Plant Ecology and Entomology Hina Maryam told APP that the entire region of Pakistan had a favorable environment and good quality soil to raise a variety of flowers from local to foreign species.

Ms. Maryam said, "Floriculture is the aesthetic branch of horticulture which deals not only with the cultivation of ornamental but also their marketing." It also included the marketing of local distant markets and export of cut flowers, live plant, and their economic products like scents, oils, medicines etc, she added. She, however, regretted that the floriculture industry was not so developed in Pakistan despite the conducive atmosphere and high potential primarily due to lack of attention and limited knowledge about its "worth and value".

While elaborating the scope of floriculture, she said, Pakistan has better scope in the future as there was a shift in trend towards tropical and sub-tropical flowers. "In Pakistan, most of the flowers are produced in winter season when Europe is covered in snow and most of the traditional functions are held during the period," she added.

"The world consumption of cut flowers and plants is increasing and there is a steady annual increase of 10 to 15 percent in all importing countries," she highlighted. "The Netherlands is the leading exporter with a market share of 3.9 billion dollars.

"If we compare Pakistan's resources to that of the Netherlands, we have a larger area, 9 to 10 times more manpower, and better climate and soil. We just need a better production technology," she added.

Commenting on her interest in floriculture, she said, "Keeping in view the success stories of developed countries, I decided to adopt this kind of education." Therefore, she had decided during her higher studies in PARC's Institute of Advanced Studies (PIAS) in agriculture that floriculture could be the best cash crop to promote in potential areas like GB with good growth capacity.

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