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Mizoram, Meghalaya make their mark with roses
K Anurag in Guwahati |
October 22, 2007 09:45 IST
The North Eastern states of Mizoram and Meghalaya are making their colourful presence felt in markets across the country and abroad, thanks to the anthriums and roses produced by them.
In Meghalaya, roses are cultivated by female gardeners who often belong to local self-help groups. The mass cultivation of roses and anthriums started in November 2002.
The government-run Dewlieh horticulture farm at Umsning in Ri-Bhoi district of Meghalaya has been the frontrunner in controlled rose production in coordination with local self-help groups. The farm now caters to markets in Kolkata, New Delhi, Guwahati, Shillong and other places throughout India. Within the North East, Guwahati is the biggest market for roses followed by Shillong.
"We startedthe controlled and commercial cultivation of roses in coordination with SHGs in 2004. The annual production volume now stands at two million roses. We are going to increase the production to 20 million roses per year within the next three years," said B K Sohliya, the project leader.
"Encouraged by the positive response in the market, we are eyeing vibrant flower markets in Japan [Images], Singapore and South East Asian markets besides faraway Australia and New Zealand [Images]. We hope the cold storage facility in the nearest international airport at Guwahati comes up fast," said Sohliya. He added that his farm sold at least 3,000 roses every day.
Not only roses, the farm contributes substantially to the production of strawberries in the state. Meghalaya is the largest producer of the 'fruit of love' in the North-East and the third largest in the country after Maharashtra and Haryana.
"We started strawberry cultivation in Ri-Bhoi district with only four farmers two years back. Today, we are producing an average of 300 kilogram of strawberries a day during the season (October to May) from 21 hectares of land with 300 farmers," said Sohliya proudly. The production area will be increased to 35 hectares by March with an annual production target of 20 metric tonnes.