Srinagar, Jan 26: Jammu and Kashmir Government has approved a mega Rs 39-crore project with an avowed objective of exploring the huge floriculture potential keeping in view the varied agro-climate and ecological conditions in the Union Territory for giving boost to flower production, officials said on Thursday.
"The project is expected to provide direct employment to 2,000 besides creation of 330 new enterprises," Atal Dulloo, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department said.
"One of the key focuses of the project is cluster-based area expansion of small ornamental nurseries, which will help to increase output and productivity. The project shall undertake protected cultivation of cut flowers, aromatic plants, loose flowers, and bulbous ornamental crops, as well as annual flower seed production. The project also included technology upgrades for existing ornamental nurseries, building aggregation platforms and post-harvest interventions like on-farm distillation units, seed processing units, walk-in cold storage, transport, branding and marketing efforts," he added.
The new project aims to address the challenges facing the floriculture industry in J&K through a number of latest technological interventions and strategies.
The objectives of the project included increasing output from the pre-Covid levels of Rs 28 crore to around Rs 85 crore per year in the next four years, supporting each production cluster with end-to-end value chain, post-harvest and processing facilities, branding, and market access, and capacity building of human resources for increasing employment in floriculture and allied sectors.
The project shall restore 2.25 hectare of area under cut flower production apart from adding 24 hectare of nursery area, creating four clusters (85ha) for lavender cultivation, increasing the area under loose flower production, and expanding the area under seed/bulb production. It also included exposure visits and trainings for stakeholders and business development and contract farming agreements with breeder and seed companies.
The project's key outputs included upgrading 54 nursery units to high-tech operations, re-operationalising 150 units, adding an additional 400 hectare of area under cultivation (total 587 ha), creating 330 new enterprises and training 2,000 new growers in aromatic flower and bulb/seed production.
It also aims to produce over 27 crore ornamental nursery plants and 4,000 litre of aromatic oils worth Rs 4.8 crore annually (from 5th year) and undertake skilling of 4,000 growers in cluster mode. The total outlay of the project is Rs 39.03 crore.