In the last few years floriculture in Pune district has shifted from sustenance production to commercial production.
“The surge in floriculture among farmers over the past decade, cultivating in open farms and modern poly and greenhouses, is facing a significant challenge,” says Mukund Thakar, founder of Pawana Phool Utpadak Sangh, a group of farmers in the Mawal region of Pune distric. He expresses concern over the industry’s problems arising from the extensive import of artificial flowers now prevalent in marriage decorations.
Covering 55 acres, Pawana group specialises in growing roses, yielding one to two lakh roses and generating a monthly income of ₹30-40 lakh. While exports contribute to their revenue, the local marriage market is a crucial income source.
Thakar points out that post-Covid-19, the industry, which has already been facing problems, is witnessing a concerning trend where artificial flowers are replacing fresh ones in marriage ceremonies. “The competition is steep, with fresh flower decorations costing ₹1 lakh, while artificial flower decorators offer their services at a mere ₹5,000. The reusability of plastic flower sets adds to the challenge for traditional floriculturists. “How do we compete with them?” he asks.
Why plastic flowers?
Prassanna Patil is in the midst of planning his wedding ceremony, and his top priority is budget management, particularly when it comes to floral decorations. He asserts, “I can’t make compromises on essentials like food, clothing, and the wedding venue. The only viable option is to trim expenses on floral decoration by opting for artificial flowers.”
A substantial number of newcomers to farming are compelled to invest ₹70 lakh in setting up a polyhouse covering one acre. Seeking support, these farmers have reached out to the Union Government and are in discussions with local Members of Parliament. In a recent development, a delegation of farmers submitted a memorandum to Baramati MP Supriya Sule, urging her assistance in addressing their concerns.
Expressing her commitment, Sule stated, “I shall raise the issue of banning plastic flowers in Parliament. Furthermore, I have made a personal decision not to accept any artificial flowers or garlands crafted from these materials.”
The National Horticulture Database (2021-22) shows that the area under floriculture production in India was 2.83 lakh hectares, with a production of 22.95 lakh tonnes of loose flowers and 8.33 lakh tonnes of cut flowers.
India’s total floriculture export was ₹707.81 crore in 2022-23. Major importing countries were the U.S., the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates, the U.K. and Germany. There are more than 300 export-oriented units in India.