Our Bureau

Pune, Dec. 14

WITH an investment of Rs 22 crore, the Pune-based KF Bio Plants has set up a 30,000 sq ft laboratory for the production of gerbera, anthurium, lily, zanthedeschia, orchid and curcuma plants.

This is the company's second such facility in the city. The combined facility makes it the largest in the country.

Mr Manish Jain, Director, KF Bio Plants, told reporters that in addition to floral plants, the greenhouses would now have seedlings of potato tubers and banana plants.

The new facility is to be inaugurated on Thursday by the Ambassador of the Netherlands, Mr Eric Neihe. Mr Jain said the company was currently producing about 22 million plants and this number was expected to increase to 50 million by January 2006. About 75 per cent of the production were exported and the rest made its way to the domestic market.

He said the total sale of ornamental flowers in the domestic market amounted to Rs 250 crore.

On expansion plans, he said the company had about five greenhouses and was planning to set up two more and would also be building up additional 20,000-sq-ft facility by March 2007.

He said the focus was now on cultivation of potato tubers, and in about three years, the company planned to have a separate company, focussing only on potato tubers.

He said: "We are addressing a Rs 250 crore turnover market." He said the Dutch Government has offered a capital subsidy of Rs 5 crore for the potato project.The Dutch Government has earmarked funds for the potato project called PSOM and usually targets the emerging markets for the subsidy.

Mr Jain added that currently only two companies KF Bio Plants and Chambal Fertilisers in Himachal Pradesh were into potato-tuber cultivation.

He said the company recorded a turnover of Rs 18 crore for the year ended March 2005 and was looking at Rs 32 crore for the current fiscal.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 15, 2005)
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