State of Floriculture in Pakistan and future horizon

Arial view of Auction Market Allahabad (theeng more) Kasur District
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Flowering crops brings more Return on investment as compare to other conventional crops in Pakistan.

Being the contributor of about 22% in GDP, employs 40% of human resource and 60% in export, agriculture sector of Pakistan remains not in the priority list of government policy makers. Lacking good good agricultural practices, provision of disease free seeds, lack of mechanization in agriculture so is the productivity, ages old irrigation techniques, lack of quality extension services in post harvest and supply chain management are few problems among many others as agro-experts mention.

floriculture in Pakistan

Floriculture is no different, in Pakistan the development of floriculture is largely being reinforced by meager private sector companies who cannot afford those resources which the sector demands for research and development in floriculture in order to make a significant leap.

Cut flowers, pot flowers, and green foliage are the major products in floriculture, a sub sector of horticulture. These crops are being cultivated on peri-urban areas of big and small cities like Lahore, Patoke, Sheikhupura, Multan, Islamabad, Hyderabad in Sindh etc. Pakistan blessed with diverse agro-ecological conditions, so different flowers can be grown and are being grown somehow, in different ecological zones throughout Pakistan like Kalar Kahar region on salt range, Hazara belt in KP, Swat district in KP, Gilgit in GB are among the few.

Surkha gulab ( disbuded rose, Gruss an Teplitz ), cut Roses, Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa ), Gladiolus, Marigold, Statice ( Limonium ) marigold & Annual chrysanthemum. In agri business these are the major flowers which have significant bread winner for flower farmers. Few other flowers are also cultivated as annuals like Gerberas, Lilies, Tulips and Amaryllis etc. on minimal scale. Other then roses most of the flower are being grown on imported germplasm. Most famous is the Netherlands where most importers are trading flower seeds, bulbs and young plants. Then comes new flower trend that is specialty cut flowers, very famous in America, few farmers started to grow them on small scale. Sun Flowers, Stocks ( matthiola incana ), Delphinium, Phonies are few of them in this bouquet.

a push factor

Push factors or driving forces are many , few are as;

Highly competitive fragile market of flowers seeds, importers business model, geographically positioned Lahore, is a real push to flower farmers. In competition, markets are being over harvested more then its actual demand that results in lower cut flower prices in auction. So primary factor remains as old, as this world of trade is ‘Market Competition’.

Gladiolus flowers

Gladiolus cut flowers being the most cultivated and traded cut flowers, after poor cut roses, are favorite among farmers from all over Pakistan. Event organizer, which comprises 90% of total cut flower demands, also demands gladiolus flower. This is the flower which you can sell in more then Rs.40 per one flower stick in auction market which cost you roughly in Rs.10/ stick. Gladiolus flower are real gold when it hits that high in auction market. Most farmers are after this kind of speculative price every season without knowledge of when and what? “a great gamble” as one of the insider call it.

Gladiolus flower are real gold when it hits that high in auction market.

Then export of dried Surkha Gulab (disbuded rose : Gruss an Teplitz ) that grows from 500 acres ( about 200 Hectares ) to 5500 acres ( 2200 hec ) in last 10 years. phenomenal growth in Pakistan floriculture sector of single flower which every governments’ sundry now a days claims as her credit. The real credit goes to exporters who pushed farmers hard with huge demands. The prices Pakistani exporters are offering in international market for dehydrated Rose is way lower then its competitors around the world.

the speed breakers

Joke apart it’s not always Government that’s the only speed breaker in the way of development of floriculture sector in Pakistan or any other sector of economy. Areas of shortcomings are very well defined and discussed many times in last 20 years. Although dark clouds are on horizon for the time being on floriculture sector because of Covid-19. What we need to do is to focus on priority problematic areas one by one during this quarantine period. Academia, Government and Private Sectors , the golden triangle, should work together with short term plans. Pakistan floriculture success really lies there where all these functionaries coordinate with focus driven cohesiveness. A comprehensive R&D requirements in all sub sectors of floriculture is needed. Need to setup efficient auctions markets which can intervene in demand driven supply chain with least possible interference from government departments.

Rs.600,000 is the avg. cost of growing one acre of Gladiolus Flower, which was Rs. 380,000 five years ago.

a flower farmer tells his story.

No country in the world impose regulatory duties on imports of inputs, especially agri-inputs, in order to encourage their local economy. Already facing huge problems in combating saturated flower markets and drastic spikes in inflation, input costs are increasing. In order to provide farmers quality starting materials for cut flowers, Government policies on import of ornamental starting materials, should be relaxed that can encourage importers to invest in introducing latest flower international market trends.

advantages we have on other players

Pakistan does have great advantages in region because of its diverse agro-ecological zones along with virgin lands and ample resources. Our niches have already exposed when we have experienced phenomenal growth patterns in Surkha Gulab ( Gruss an Teplitz ) in export. Many underdeveloped countries came in the race of flower export in last 10 years using their natural resource and ecological advantages. most famous are the countries along equator line. Supportive government policies can excel this under privileged sector of agriculture and in return can contribute towards poverty alleviation and more employment opportunities.

for what we need to struggle

Its USD 100 Billion market volume annually with 6% growth rate. a major market shift happened during last 4 to five years when Kenya, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Columbia, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia ( called Equator countries ) became leading flower producer and now having more then 50% of market share in international flower trade.

Pakistan can also take its pie from this very lucrative international trade by following footsteps of these not very developed countries.

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