July 11, 2017
Flowers can be great generators of great fortunes for farmers and nations. Worldwide more than 140 countries are involved in commercial trade in flowers or Floriculture. The leading flower producing country in the world is Netherlands and Germany is the biggest importer of flowers. Countries involved in the import of flowers are the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Japan while those involved in export are Colombia, Israel, Spain and Kenya. USA and Japan continue to be the highest consumers.
The new centers of production are developing countries like Ecuador (the biggest producer and export of roses worldwide), Colombia (second largest exporter in the world), Ethiopia, Kenya, and India. Other players in this global industry are Israel, South Africa, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.
The Netherlands is the largest producer of flowers in the world, and is known as the Land of Flowers. USA is in the second place. Sweden is at third place, Brazil is in the fourth place, while Denmark and Switzerland are fifth and sixth respectively. Australia is in the seventh place. Malaysia, Cambodia and India are 8th, 9th and 10th place respectively.
In India, Andhra Pradesh leads in loose flowers production with 2,24,410 MT cultivated over 34,850 hectares, followed by Karnataka at 2,07,500 MT cultivated in 29,700 hectares and Tamil Nadu with 3,12,970 MT grown in 28,700 hectares. West Bengal is the largest producer in cut flowers with 25,429 lakh pieces, followed by Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Several species of jasmine are grown in Karnataka, the most famous being Mysore Mallige, the Hadagali Mallige and Udupi Mallige. Famed worldwide for their fragrance, all the three flower varieties have been patented and registered under Intellectual Property Right. The cultivation of Udupi Mallige is of relatively recent origin. Cultivation of this variety of jasmine started in Shankarapura in Udupi district about 100 years ago. It is grown extensively in Bhatkal, Udupi, Dakshina Kannada and Uttara Kannada. Mangaluru jasmine is grown in the tiny hamlet of Shankerpura (also spelt Shankarapura) that is about 50 kilometers from Mangaluru. The village produces sweetly scented flowers that have an elongated shape and are strung together in a totally unique way.
These jasmines are plucked in the bud stage, stringed together and sold. There are two ways to string these jasmine either through thread or by string made of plantain stalk. The latter one looks beautiful with brown plantain string in the middle of flowers. The stringed flowers are first measured as 'chidi' or a handspan. About 70 flowers make one chidi. As many as 800 flowers go into the making of one ‘chendu’(ball of flowers), while four chendus make one ‘atte’.
The attes are collected from farmers by agents and sold to retailers in Udupi, Mangaluru and other places, like Mumbai and are also exported to Gulf countries including Dubai. The rate is fixed on a daily basis by a central agency due to heavy demand.
We need to develop this unique product in a big way.
Mangaluru also needs to develop its own flower show. Many countries organize most amazing flower shows. From the West Coast of the USA to Hong Kong to Australia; these shows and festivals offer more than just flowers to gaze at. Breathtaking floral displays, intricately designed gardens and fun for the whole family await all visitors. Throw in a few A-list celebrities and you will be thinking twice about calling these shows boring. India does not figure in the list of countries hosting amazing flower shows.
Keukenhof Tulip and Flower Gardens, South Holland is the world’s largest flower garden park.
There are over 10 such amazing flower festivals in different parts of the world. These festivals are combined with Flower Field tours, and Flower Parades. Holland attracted over 800,000 tourists to see the Tulips. Imagine the tourist potential and the massive revenue earned by every sector of the economy. It is an astronomical amount that is generated from the tourists. Israel a country in the desert is a recognized major flower exporter. They have earned more than $50 million from export of flowers of all kinds.
Mangaluru also needs to develop its Mallige into an international brand like the Tulips of Holland. There we get Tulips at airports, supermarkets and train stations. Wooden replicas of Tulips are sold everywhere. The Mangaluru Mallige is conspicuously absent in our supermarkets, airport and railway stations. We need a sound marketing strategy to develop it into a vibrant industry. These are totally non polluting and beautifies the landscape, thereby attracting tourists. We too can organize flower parades, flower shows, and flower girl contests. There are endless opportunities and possibilities as the industry in India is growing at over 25% each year and the international demand is estimated to be around Rupees ninety thousand crores. It is an exciting career option for youngsters with great potential. Elders, housewives, and youngsters alikecan get a profitable income throughout the year.
Urban horticulture can be utilized to make Mangaluru into a garden city. The City Beautiful Movement was initiated in North America to beautify the cities. We also need to start a similar movement in Mangaluru, before the city is made into an unlivable concrete jungle. It is sad to see grand houses with extensive front and back gardens being demolished and every sq.cm being concretized. The rapidly vanishing coconut groves and paddy fields that form the enchanting Konkan landscape are fast disappearing. Mangaluru should not get Bengalurud! Garden cities have been developed in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, China, Germany and the UK. Bengaluru was once the pride of India but it has been lost irretrievably. Even small countries like Thailand have developed stunning gardens with incredible landscapes. Plane loads of Indians are pouring into Pattaya, in Thailand everyday but we are simply not interested in developing such enchanting spots in our country.
The above incredible park is situated in Pattaya, Thailand. It is popular among tourists because of stunningly beautiful landscapes and marvelous views. Everything there seems to be from a fairy-tale. It is full of Thai style houses, villas, banquet halls, restaurants and swimming pools. In 1980 it was opened to the public and got an official name 'Suan Nong Nooch'. Suan means 'garden', since it is a place where everybody concerned can get acquainted with Thai Culture and Cultural Shows. More than 2,000 visitors go there every day.
Let us all unite and start a City Beautiful Movement, future generations when queried where they live, should proudly respond 'Beautiful Mangaluru'.
Dr G ShreeKumar Menon Archives: