India: Cultivation boost: State mulls to set up flower packaging infrastructure

In a bid to provide a further boost to the cultivation and marketing of flowers, particularly in the North Bengal region, the state Food Processing Industries and Horticulture (FPI&H) department is planning to develop an export-oriented packaging infrastructure for flowers in Bengal itself. "Presently, the exporters involved in the export of flowers grown in Bengal purchase it from farmers and send it to Bengaluru for packaging, and from there, it is exported. We want to develop our own packaging infrastructure, and we feel that the flower market in Mullickghat (Howrah) may be the most suitable place where we can do so. We have already spoken with some exporters and are seeking expert opinion based on which we will prepare a project report," Subrata Saha, state FPI&H minister, said.

Saha, along with senior department officials, visited the North Bengal region during the second week of November, where the prospect of cultivation of cash crops and flowers in the Hills was discussed. The minister visited several flower nurseries where the cultivation of orchids, cacti, etc., has been taken up. According to sources in the FPI&H department, there is an immense demand for orchids in the international market. Darjeeling grows Cymbidium orchids in abundance, which is in high demand in countries like the USA, UK, Australia, and Japan. The cultivation of orchids is low-cost, and the flowers can be grown without a greenhouse. However, post-harvest, these flowers have to be shipped out quite fast.

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