Pokhara on track to being self-sufficient in flowersPokhara is on track to self-sufficiency in flowers with 80 percent of its current requirement being fulfilled by local production.
Pokhara is on track to self-sufficiency in flowers with 80 percent of its current requirement being fulfilled by local production.
Until five years ago, around 90 percent of the flowers sold in this scenic lake city in western Nepal used to be imported from India, resulting in millions of rupees flowing out of the country. But things have changed.
“Lately, farmers and nurseries have started growing flowers on a commercial basis in Kaski district and surrounding areas.
This is making Pokhara self-sufficient in flowers,” Daya Dwa, president of the Floriculture Association of Nepal (Kaski Chapter), told the Post.
Around 5.5 percent of the arable land in Kaski district is being used to grow flowers, according to the Kaski District Agricultural Office (KDAO). “There are about 52 farmers engaged in commercial flower farming and dozens of others are growing flowers on small plots of land,” said KDAO Chief Lokendra Bahadur Bohara.
As the market for flowers is growing, more and more farmers have been entering the sector. “If the government provides quality seeds and easy credit facilities and develops pocket areas for flower production, more people will be interested in growing flowers commercially,” Dwa said.
Like in other places in Nepal, demand for flowers in Pokhara too surges during the Tihar festival. During the five-day-long celebration which began on Friday, people decorate their houses with strings of flowers such as marigold (sayapatri), globe amaranth (makhamali) and chrysanthemum (godavari). Flowers worth Rs20 million are sold in Pokhara during Tihar. The flowers cost Rs2 to Rs12 each.
“We don’t face any problem finding buyers for the flowers we grow during Tihar,” said Basanta Raj Bhandari of Birauta. He has grown 9,000 marigold plants on 6 ropanis of land.
Farmers in Pokhara generally grow Syngenta flowers bred in the US besides red, yellow, orange and golden marigolds and chrysanthemums.
Nepal produces flowers valued at Rs671.44 million annually through commercial farming, according to the latest survey carried out by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) in collaboration with Floriculture Association Nepal in 2014-15.
The country largely grows seven types of flowers. It produces seasonal flowers like marigold and dahlia, among others, worth Rs221.74 million annually, a CBS report said. Perennial flowers make up the second largest harvest. Nepal grows perennial flowers like rose, chrysanthemum, carnation and azalea worth Rs167.09 million annually.
Nepal also produces decorative plants such as dhupi (Himalayan cypress), shrubs used for hedges and erica, among others, worth Rs120.37 million.
Similarly, cut flowers, loose flowers, garden dubo (commonly known as Bermuda grass) and flowers grown from seeds, rhizomes and bulbs are also widely produced in Nepal.
The floriculture sector in the country provides employment to 2,300 people on a permanent basis and employs 72,400 people on a daily wage basis, according to the CBS report.