Not many of them know exactly what Valentine’s Day is all about, but Indian farmers are spicing up celebrations across the world with their roses.

According to the Indian Society of Floriculture Professionals (ISFP), roses worth ₹27-30 crore will be exported across the world, especially to the UK, for Valentine’s Day celebrations.

Growing business

Praveen Sharma, President of ISFP, told BusinessLine that many small and marginal farmers holding small patches of land are joining rose cultivation, thanks to the popularity of Indian roses in the Valentine’s Day market. Roses worth ₹19 crore and ₹23 crore were exported in February in 2017 and 2018, respectively, said Sharma, adding that Indian roses are hit in UK supermarkets. “Earlier there were no large-scale projects, but since 1991 floriculturehas gained roots in India and today it has percolated to small farmers. We have member farmers who hold 10 gunta land and are reaping benefits by exporting roses, ” Sharma said.

He added that ISFP exports roses to Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and Singapore, apart from the UK.

“In 2019 (from January to December), we estimate that roses worth ₹70 crore will be exported by us,” said Sharma.

Farmers said roses this season are of premium quality because of favourable climate. “Floriculture technology has reached small farmers. It costs about ₹10-12 to cultivate a good quality rose. The cost includes transportation and other expenses. In February, a flower sells at ₹25-50 in the international market and it gives a big boost to farmers’ income,” said Raju Chougule, an agriculture expert and a farmer. He observed that demand for the flower is on the rise in the domestic market too.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, floriculture has grown appreciably in the last two decades as a commercial venture with support from the centrally sponsored Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture.

The country exported 20,703 tonnes of floriculture products to the world, worth ₹507.31 crore, in 2017-18. Flowers are exported to about 150 countries, but India’s share in the world floriculture trade and exports is less than 1 per cent.