Cut flowers went on sale on Christmas Eve

Asia's largest tulip garden in Kashmir was started as an ornamental display in 2008 with an aim of advancing the tourist season but floriculturists here have seized on a business opportunity by introducing the flowers on a commercial scale.

While the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden starts blooming every March, enterprising flower-growers managed to get the first bloom last December, said a Floriculture Department official.

Commercial scale

“The ‘Kashmir Tulip' was introduced as cut flower on commercial scale on Christmas Eve and the first order was supplied to Florista — a flower chain in Mumbai,” says Javed Ahmad Shah, in-charge of the garden.

Hi-tech poly-houses

The bloom in extreme harsh winter was possible due to the introduction of hi-tech poly-houses — an experiment started last year — which bore the results this year, he says.

“Earlier, tulips in India were mostly imported from Holland. But, if everything goes as per plan, we shall have Kashmir tulip catering to all the markets in the country,” he said.

The Kashmir Tulip, as the Floriculture Department is trying to brand the flower from the valley, is currently being sent to markets in Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore.

Mr. Shah says the private growers, who are very few at present, got orders even on Valentine's Day from these cities, indicating that the ‘rose' might soon turn red by the competition it will face from tulips.

More and more farmers in Kashmir were taking to tulip cultivation due to high returns of cut flower business.

Average return

“The cost of rearing a tulip bulb into a cut flower is Rs.20 to Rs.22 including all expenses like labour, transportation and heating facilities. The average return per tulip cut flower is not less than Rs.35,” he said.

“Around 30,000 bulbs can be cultivated on 200-sq.m. which can fetch a profit of Rs.3 lakh to Rs.4 lakh to the farmer.”

Mr. Shah noted that an expert from Holland had recently visited Kashmir to train the tulip farmers from the valley in cultivation and post harvest techniques.

“The expert was of the opinion that Kashmir has the best climate, soil and water for tulip cultivation. The colour of Kashmir tulip is also brighter and intense compared to Holland tulip due to these reasons.”

Introduction

Tulips were introduced in the State in 2007 when the then Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad turned the Siraj Bagh into the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden.

Tourism season

The aim of setting the largest tulip garden of Asia is to give another option to tourists and advance the tourism season, which begins in May, by two months.

The garden has been a success story with thousands of tourists thronging it every year during the three weeks when tulips bloom. — PTI


  • Bloom in extreme winter possible due to introduction of hi-tech poly-houses

  • High returns of cut flower business prompt farmers take up tulip cultivation