Berhampur: Even though orchid flowers have a high demand in the national market, farmers in Ganjam district who grow orchid flowers face losses due to strict restrictions imposed following the spread of Covid-19 , according to a report.
The flower is cultivated in the district with the help of the district horticultural service. The flower to bloom depends on the moisture content in the atmosphere.
The farmers said the temperate climate in the district is favorable for growing the flower. However, farmers in the district have faced losses over the past two years due to severe restrictions imposed following the spread of the pandemic.
Farmers typically sell the flower for Rs 5 to Rs 10 per piece, but their profit margin and demand has declined after Covid-19 restrictions were imposed in the state.
Farmers are not receiving the volume of orders they received in the past. The flower is in great demand during marriage, Bratopanayan and other celebrations.
The flowers are transported to Bangalore, other parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and the state capital, Bhubaneswar.
An examination confirmed that the quality of flowers grown in Ganjam district is better than that of flowers produced in Tamil Nadu. This has pushed its demand in the markets of other parts of the country.
The annual turnover of the flower business in the district is over Rs 1 crore. Bearing in mind its profitability, the district horticulture department encourages self-help groups (SHG) to get involved in the cultivation of orchids.
The district horticultural department provides a 70 percent grant to self-help groups that engage in orchid cultivation.
Spurred on by this initiative, a self-help group of women in Bhikaripalli under the Chhatrapur bloc have started to breed orchids on an experimental basis and have achieved success.
This motivated others to come forward, as the self-help groups of Balakumari, Singhasini and Bhairavi have embarked on this agriculture.
Sarat Chandra Behera, deputy director of the district’s horticulture department, said orchid cultivation was undertaken in the district on an experimental basis in 2012.
Harvest and business went quite well in 2017-18. Young orchid trees costing Rs 56 each are brought from Pune. The yellow, white and pink varieties are grown in Ganjam.
Currently cultivation is done on 12-14 units in Rangeilunda, Humma, Sanakhemundi, Kabisuryanaga, Chhatrapur and Pursottampur blocks.
The cultivation is more distributed in the Humma block where the best quality orchid is produced, he added.
Sanjeev Purohit, a farmer from Sanakhemundi, said that Rs 15 lakhs to Rs 17 lakhs are needed for growing coir and coir ropes over an area of 1000 square meters, covered with plastic netting.
He added that the ropes are sprinkled with water through which the saplings receive moisture from the atmosphere. Young shoots take about six months to grow. The flower produced is sold at Rs 10 per piece on the market.