Karnataka set to add value to its flower power

The Horticulture Department, in collaboration with the International Flower Auction Bangalore (IFAB), is setting up a flower processing centre to convert unsold flowers into various useful products.

M. Vishwanath, Joint Director of Horticulture and MD of IFAB, told The Hindu, “This incubation centre will process flowers and convert them to value-added products such as natural dyes, floral papers, incense sticks, flower petal powder for cosmetic usage, floral embedded works, floral arts, and silica-stored flowers.”

He said such a facility was needed as flower farmers have been suffering huge losses whenever there is a glut or market disruption. Growers can learn the art of flower processing from the centre, he said.

“The unit will be able to process all kinds of flowers. It will come up at IFAB by March or April. A large number of flower growers from across the State can benefit from this centre instead of resorting to dumping their produce or abandoning gardens,” Mr. Vishwanath said.

During the lockdown periods and until September/October, flower growers incurred huge losses as they were forced to discard thousands of tonnes of jasmine, marigold, aster, chrysanthemum, tuberose, gladiolus, firecracker (kanakambara), gomphrena (chendu hoovu), carnations, gerberas, and roses.

According to Mohan Krishna, a flower farmer from Doddaballapur and a wholesale flower dealer at K.R. Market, flower farmers and vendors were the worst hit from April to September 2020. They had no choice but to convert hard-produced yield to manure.

“Some say K.R Market is the largest flower market in Asia. That is probably true as we get over a 100 varieties here, including over two dozen rose varieties, at least a dozen shades of kanakambara and gerberas, and carnations in almost all colours. It is good to hear about the processing centre and value-addition possibilities,” he said.

Karnataka, which has 18,000 hectares of land under flower cultivation, accounts for 14% of India’s total area under flower production.

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