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Livelihood Security in Andaman and Nicobar Islands through Floriculture

Makhan Lal Chaturvedi`s `Pushap ki Abhilasha` narrates the desire of a flower. Flower is important in everyone’s life. From birth to death, the requirement of flower is always there. Moreover, a person can earn good money through floriculture or flower farming and export of flowers also increases country’s foreign exchange.

Chander Mohan

Makhan Lal Chaturvedi`s `Pushap ki Abhilasha` narrates the desire of a flower. Flower is important in everyone’s life. From birth to death, the requirement of flower is always there. Moreover, a person can earn good money through floriculture or flower farming and export of flowers also increases country’s foreign exchange.

The Island which was once the discarded place on the earth was considered the `KalaPani` was the prison of the freedom fighter of India for the British Government.  Now the Indian Government utilizes the Biodiversity of the Island for the betterment of the Island and towards the increase of the Indian Image abroad and even inland of the mainland of India.  

Being the hot spot of biodiversity, the Andaman and Nicobar group of Islands has a wide wealth of native ornamentals and offers a wide scope for their further exploitation and utilization. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands have always been a one of the most preferred holiday destinations for the tourists all over the world. 

The Andaman and Nicobar Islands enjoy moderate climate without much temperature fluctuations throughout the year. Though the climate of the island is congenial for commercial flower production, the potential is untapped due to the lack of awareness of the latest technologies among the farmers of the Island. 

The Islands have 2654 species under 237 families and 1083 genera (Including angiosperms, pteritophytes and bryophytes) of which 308 taxa as endemics. Among the Island flora, palms, ferns and orchids are the wealth of the Island which are available with wide diversity and have wide scope for commercial exploitation mainly for export of unique Island flora. 

Apart from the indigenous ornamental biodiversity the loose and cut flower production, cut foliage production and landscape horticulture are the important areas through which Floriculture may emerge as an important income earning sector in the Islands. The conservation, multiplication and utilization of unique and native palms, ferns and orchids of the Island may help the Island to develop as major export hub. 

The import of flowers from the mainland meets about 94 percent of the domestic requirement of the loose flowers and the production in Island is able to meet only 6 percent  of loose flower requirement. A sum of Rs. 15.27 crores worth of flowers are imported from mainland to meet the demand in the Islands every year. This leads to increase in the costs of flowers in the Islands by 4-5 times costlier when compared to mainland. 

The cultivation of cut flowers under protected condition is gaining importance in the Island especially among the young entrepreneurs due to the intervention by the governmental agencies like ICAR-Central Island Agricultural and Research Institute; Department of Agriculture, Realizing the commercial floriculture’s potential, especially the cut flower sector, ICAR-CIARI, Port Blair and ICAR-Directorate of Floricultural Research (ICAR-DFR), Pune jointly introduced the popular gladiolus varieties to farmers for large scale cultivation for enhancing the farm income. 

A field day on “Marigold and Gladiolus cultivation for livelihood security in Andaman and Nicobar Islands” was carried out on 5th December - 2018 at the farmer’s field at New Bimblitan. The programme was attended by about 32 farmers from nearby villages of South Andaman. ICAR- Directorate of Floricultural Research, Pune air-lifted the corms of three varieties of gladiolus namely Yellow Shine, Chandani and Punjab Dawn distributed them to the farmers. Shri Arulandu, a progressive farmer from New Bimblitan was also present during the occasion. 

The collective initiative of two ICAR institutes under the guidance and leadership of Dr. A.K. Singh, DDG (HS&CS), Dr. T. Janakiram, ADG (HS I), ICAR would go a long way in revolutionizing the commercial cultivation of cut flowers like gladiolus so as to make Andaman and Nicobar Islands self-sufficient in cut flower production. 

Strategies for growth of flori-business in the Island 

  • Availability of quality planting material of loose flowers and other ornamentals are necessary for the growth of floriculture in the island. 

  • As most of the infrastructure facilities like cool rooms, refrigerated transport trucks, etc. are beyond individual investment of cultivators, Hence, these facilities should be created on community basis and should be made availability on custom hiring. 

  • Possibility of starting joint ventures under public private partnership mode. 

  • Efforts also should be made for popularizing indigenous flowers of the Island to various markets in the mainland. 

  • Cost effective production technologies are to be standardized 

  • The production of flower crops in plantation based system will enhance the area expansion in the island 

  • The promotion of nursery industry in the Island will enhance rapid growth of floriculture. 

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