Agri Business

Now, grow gerberas in open fields

Vishwanath Kulkarni Bengaluru | Updated on February 12, 2021

C Ashwath, Principal Scientist and Head of Floriculture and Medicinal Plants at IIHR

ICAR-IIHR’s open gerbera varieties can cut down on royalties to the European breeders

Anyone can grow gerberas, the decorative flowers, anywhere soon. Thanks to the ICAR-Indian Institute of Horticulture, Bengaluru, that has developed two new gerbera varieties that can be grown by farmers in the open fields, unlike in the greenhouse currently.

These two varieties have the potential to revolutionise the cultivation of gerberas, which are grown on about 2,000 hectares in greenhouses. Also, these two varieties can help cut down the royalty being paid by the Indian growers to breeders in Europe.

The two new varieties, which can be grown in areas with maximum temperatures of up to 40 degree celsius, have been developed over eight years after screening the germ plasm from various locations across the country, said C Ashwath, Principal Scientist and Head of IIHR’s Floriculture and Medicinal Plants division.

They would be commercialised soon and made available to farmers at a price of ₹12-15 per plant, he said.

Cost-saving variety

Plants of about 30 varieties of gerberas, currently grown in the country are imported from Europe, mainly Netherlands. Each plant costs about ₹35-40, of which half the price goes as royalty to the European breeders.

“The open gerberas are a boon to the small farmers as the cost of cultivation is lower than those cultivated in the green houses. They don’t have to incur the greenhouse costs and the planting material cost is less. Also, the open varieties need less of pesticide spray, once a month as against two to three rounds in the green houses. The cost of producing each gerbera flower will be around 20 paise in the open as compared to ₹2 in the greenhouse,” Ashwath said.

“The new varieties look good but until and unless they are grown in a big way, it is difficult to assess,” said Shrikant Bollapally, a cut flower grower and President, Growers Flower Council of India. “These varieties look attractive for growers, who cannot think or afford to invest in green houses, which is a major cost. Moreover, it can avoid the royalty payments to the foreign breeders,” Bollapally said.

The indigenous development of cut flowers varieties such as roses, carnation, gypsophia and limonium, would benefit the growers, he added.

Published on February 12, 2021

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