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Value addition in floriculture
By Dr Adnan Younis & Dr Atif Riaz

VALUE-added floriculture is a process of increasing the economic value and consumer appeal of any floricultural commodity.

It is increasing the value and appeal of any floriculture product or commodity through changes in genetics, processing or diversification. Profit potential is increased when an indistinctive raw commodity is converted into a unique product. It requires more time, labour and skill than typically seen in farming operations.

For value-added products to be successful, it is recommended that floricultural producers carefully identify goods that utilise local resources and that fulfil gap in the market. Adding value also adds to the cost of production, but careful planning and test marketing can significantly increase the net cash return of a small-scale floricultural enterprise.

Value-addition ensures high premium to the grower, while providing more acceptable quality products for the domestic and export market, and it provides the most important aspects of marketing and give the customers a reason to buy such products. The value-addition for marketing flowers includes adoption of post-harvest technology and improved logistics. Export of value-added product e.g. oil (extracted in small units set up in production zones) rather than the raw material e.g. rose petals, can help generate substantial revenue in international market.

Unstable prices for raw commodities; federal farm policies; changing consumer preferences; make more money by cutting out the middleman; increased profits; pride in a high quality product-- important in changing economy; consumer preferences.

Floriculture has emerged as a major diversification option in the agri-business in recent years. The product-wise groupings under floriculture are cut-flowers (fresh), bulbs and tubers, live potted plants, dried plants, dried flowers, etc. the scenario of floriculture products in Pakistan has been negligible till recently. However it is expanding at a rapid rate and holds very good prospects. Floriculture may be one of the most successful components of diversified horticultural industry.

Floriculture is not only a business, but a lifestyle that involves a commitment. The decision to enter floriculture should not be based solely on love of flowers. Working with flowers is of course a benefit, but a successful operation involves much more. It is a complex business requiring a great deal of highly specialised knowledge and skills. The industry is highly technical and scientific. It is labour intensive and good management skills are essential.

Floriculture is like any other business; to survive the business must make a profit. A considerable time and study before making a business decision on the type of crop and location is necessary. The consumption basket is getting diversified towards value-added floral products such as essences, perfumes, and other by products from flowers. It is important for production to respond to these shifts in consumption.

The focus, therefore, needs to be on crop diversification and broad-based agricultural development that will not only cater to the changing consumption pattern and reduce imports, but also take advantage of Pakistanís global competitive strength in various agricultural products. The floral processing industry holds considerable potential in this context to emerge as the main driver of diversification of agriculture.

There is a need for value addition in floricultural products through processing, packaging, and supply chain management so that farm incomes expand and employment is generated. This cannot take place without directed policy actions, given the complexity inherent in diversified farming activity and the difficulties connected with the linking of farms to relevant markets.

Just as the spread of green revolution was aided by a package approach across the country involving the coordinated supply of inputs, technology, seeds and extension of credit, there is clearly a need now for the creation of similar packages for value addition in floriculture. The thrust of diversification has to be on high value-added products keeping in view the market demand both within and outside the country. Efficient and well-developed markets are necessary to enable farmers to deal with inherent risks associated with the perish ability of their produce, to get remunerative prices and to secure smooth access to input supplies.

The value-added products from non- conventional floricultural crops like essential oil of rose, tube rose, jasmine, marigold etc. and plants extracts used in medicines and pharmaceutical industry are unique and likely to face less competition in the international market after the post WTO scenario and thus have the potential for export and import substitution. At present, the government should sharpen policies and private initiatives, to make it a significant player in the world trade of floricultural products. However, a carefully thought out strategy has to be adopted to build on its strengths and enhance its share of the world trade. Considering that the floriculture is and will continue to be a lucrative business, the government needs to consolidate its position in the commercial floricultural products.

To achieve this goal, concerted efforts on the part of planners and policy makers as well as producers will be needed. Institute of Horticultural Sciences, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, is targeting on development of floriculture as an industry in the country. A major mandate of this institute is the transfer of technologies through on-farm demonstrations and training.

The assistance would allow to lay the technical fundamentals for improved technological know how and crop management skills for the production of high quality flowers and floral products. In addition, the extension service network of the agricultural university and agricultural research stations in the region could also be used for this transfer.

Courtesy: The Dawn

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