: Despite implementation of schemes by the Horticulture Department in the district, there hasbeen no significant increase in the area under floriculture.

The area under floriculture, which was around 1,000 hectares by the end of 2007–08 increased only marginally by 99 ha during last four years.

Deputy Director of Horticulture Ibrahim Doddmani said here on Friday that not many farmers were interested in taking up floriculture, which had good potential. In the district, floriculture was mainly limited to Belgaum and Khanapur taluks and the supply was to markets in Mumbai and Delhi.

Overall development

He said the State government, under the National Horticulture Mission, was implementing a new programme for the overall development of horticulture by developing clusters for vegetable and fruit crops and for cultivation of flowers. With respect to Belgaum district, seven taluks hadbeen identified for cluster development on which the government proposed to spend Rs. 4.5 crore during next financial year.

The department had prepared an action plan for developing fruit clusters for cultivation of grapes, banana and “chiku” in areas measuring 40 to 50 ha, of which 350 ha had already been developed during the current financial year.

Considering that Belgaum district was next only to Bangalore in Karnataka in the cultivation of flowers, zilla panchayat Chief Executive Officer V. Shankar said he would soon convene a meeting with floriculturists for discussions on ways to boost flower cultivation.