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Executive Summary

M/s Vishawa Enclave is a high tech floriculture Project being promoted by Smt. Sharadamma, a lady hailing from farming community, for cultivation of high value Gerbera flowers under controlled atmospheric conditions, i.e. under high tech poly houses. The proposed project site is located at Village Duddegere, Hubli Varuana, Taluka and District Mysore, Karnataka. The total land holding is around 35 acres. Out of total land holding an area of 3 acres is being earmarked for setting up the proposed project. The total constructed area will be 5000 sq meters consisting of two poly houses of 25, 000 sq ft each. The promoter hails from a farming family whose main occupation has been farming for over 5 decades. In setting up and operating the project the promoter will be assisted by her family members whose main occupation is farming. Being a totally a new technology venture, in order to ensure successful implementation and commissioning of the project, the promoter has entered in to comprehensive technical consultancy agreement with M/ Vadamalai Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd, Domlur, Bangalore. Under the technical consultancy agreement entered in to between the promoter and the consultancy firm, the consultants will set up the project on turnkey basis, including erection, planting, and supervision of the plantation for the first year, and assuring quality output. During this period they will also train the personnel for subsequent maintenance of the farm. Subsequent to first year of operation the representatives of the consultants will maintain overall supervision of the project for further period of four years. The consultants will also provide assistance in marketing the product by identifying suitable buyers through their contacts in the market. M/s Vadamalai Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd, is actively engaged in the field of agriculture and horticulture for over two decades. The principal activity of the consultants is to disseminate information regarding advanced agricultural practices being adopted locally and internationally by farmers through their monthly magazine published in four different languages for the benefit of the local farming community. They are also actively engaged in assisting enlightened farmers in adopting latest farming practices in the field of open field cultivation of high value cash crops whose cultivation is being encouraged by Government organizations like National Horticulture Board, National medicinal Plant Board, National Horticulture Mission etc. They have on their roles panel of consultants who have decade of experience in their respective field. With the help of these experts who are on its role, the firm renders complete technical assistance to farmers in setting up high technology horticulture/ floriculture projects for cultivation high value horticulture crops like Colour Capsicums, Broccolis, English Cucumbers, French Beans, Chilly Tomatoes, and various exotic flowers like Carnation, Gerbera, cut Roses etc which are cultivated under controlled atmospheric conditions. They also assist farmers in undertaking cultivation of medicinal crops like Stevia, Safed Musli, and similar crops on contract basis by tying up with end users. At present they are executing

various projects in the States of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu both under poly house and open field cultivation. The present project envisages setting up two poly houses of 25, 000 sq ft each for cultivation of carnation flowers which have huge demand locally and internationally. The project will have a capacity to produce around 26.25 lakh flowers annually. The highlights of the project are as under: Total Number Of Poly Houses Area of each poly house Total Constructed Area Total Land Area Total Number Of Plants Average Output per plant Cropping Period Estimated Annual output Estimated Project Cost Means of Financing Proposed 25, 000 sq ft 50, 000 sq ft 3 acres 40, 000 30 2.5 years 12 Lakh flowers Rs. 70lakhs Promoters Capital Rs. 21 lakhs Term Funding Back Ended subsidy from NHB SFAC Venture Funding as equity Average DSCR ` Promoters Margin Total security offered (Market Value) approx 30% Rs. 150 lakhs Rs. 49 lakhs Rs. 18 lakhs Rs.5.46 lakhs 2.15 2

Technical specification of Green House


Type of Green house

Dead Load of Structure Live Load

Wind Load

Material of Construction Foundation

Orientation Spacing between poly houses Height

Design Standards Cladding Material

Gable roof, multi span ridge and furrow or Gutter connected, naturally ventilated Croto Type 7.5 kg per sq meter 15 kg per sq meter maximum. Roof member To support 45 kg of concentrated load when Applied at centre. Designed for withstanding wind speed of 130 km per hour, and at least 50 kg per sq Meter of wind speed. Galvanized, structural steel pipes 60cmx 60cm x 60cm, 1 meter depth in PCC Of 1:4:8. The vertical poles to be covered to height of 60cm with thickness of 5 cm. All sheds to be oriented in North/South direction 10 meters 5 meters at centre. Side ventilation 2 meter Width, and roof ventilation 1 meter width. Confirming to NGMA standard 1994. Silver grey UV Stabilized multilayer 6 mil P.E. FILM65x.8.4 meter. Side walls and windows UV Stabilized multilayer 6 mil PE film 172x1.4 meter. Internal cover material 4 mil UV Stabilized anti drip PE film.

FLORICULTURE
Floriculture, or flower farming, is a discipline of horticulture concerned with the cultivation of flowering and ornamental plants for gardens and for floristry, comprising the floral industry. The development plant breeding of new varieties is a major occupation of floriculturists. Floriculture crops include bedding plants, flowering plants, foliage plants or houseplants, cut cultivated greens, and cut flowers. As distinguished from

nursery crops, floriculture crops are generally herbaceous. Bedding and garden plants consist of young flowering plants (annuals and perennials) and vegetable plants. Flowers are mainly for export. This business is growing in the world at around 610 per cent per annum. In 2007 the size of the industry was $80 billion. After liberalization, the Govt. of India identified floriculture as a sunrise industry and accorded it 100 percent export oriented status. Owing to steady increase in demand of flower floriculture has become one of the important Commercial trades in Agriculture. Hence commercial floriculture has emerged as hi-tech activity-taking place under controlled climatic conditions inside greenhouse. Floriculture products mainly consist of cut flowers, pot plants, cut foliage, seeds bulbs, tubers, rooted cuttings and dried flowers or leaves. The important floricultural crops in the international cut flower trade are rose, carnation, chrysanthemum, gerbera, gladiolus, gypsophila, liastris, nerine, orchids, arch ilea, anthuriums, tulip, and lilies. Present status and growing trade is still in infancy. Floriculture in India, is being viewed as a high growth Industry. Commercial floriculture is becoming important from the export angle. The liberalization of industrial and trade policies paved the way for development of export oriented production of cut flowers. The new seed policy had already made it feasible to import planting material of international varieties. The government of India offers tax benefits to new export oriented floriculture companies in the form of income-tax holidays and exemption from certain import duties. Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority ( APEDA), responsible for export promotion and development of floriculture in India, grants subsidies for establishing cold storage, pre cooling units, refrigerated vans and green houses, and air freight subsidy to exports. It has been found that commercial floriculture has higher potential per unit area than most of the field crops and is therefore a lucrative business. According to a report of the APEDA, the total area under flower crops was estimated around 34,000 hectares, which included 24,000 hectares under traditional flowers such as marigold, jasmine, aster, rose, chrysanthemum, tuberose and 10,000 hectares under modern flowers like carnation, rose, gerbera, gladiolus, anthuriums.

In spite of a long tradition of Agriculture and Floriculture, India's share in the international market for these flowers is negligible. During the last ten years, taking advantage of the incentives offered by the Government, a number of Floriculture units were established in India for producing and exporting flowers to the developed countries. Most of them were located near Mumbai, Bangalore and Delhi and obtained the technical know-how from Dutch and Israeli Consultants.

India has a long tradition of floriculture. References to flowers and gardens are found in ancient Sanskrit classics like the Rig Veda (C 3000-2000 BC), Ramayana (C 1200-1300 BC), Mahabharata (prior to 4th Century BC), Shudraka (100 BC), Ashvagodha (C 100 AD), Kalidasa (C 400 AD) and Sarangdhara (C 1200 AD). The social and economic aspects of flower growing were, however, recognized much later. The offering and exchange of flowers on all social occasions, in places of worship and their use for adornment of hair by women and for home decoration have become an integral part of human living. With changing life styles and increased urban affluence, floriculture has assumed a definite commercial status in recent times and during the past 2-3 decades particularly. Appreciation of the potential of commercial floriculture has resulted in the blossoming of this field into a viable agri-business option. Availability of natural resources like diverse agro-climatic conditions permit production of a wide range of temperate and tropical flowers, almost all through the year in some part of the country or other. Improved communication facilities have increased their availability in every part of the country. The commercial activity of production and marketing of floriculture products is also a source of gainful and quality employment to scores of people.

Cut Flower Production In India


In spite of the long and close association with floriculture, the records of commercial activity in the field are very few. The information on the area under floriculture and the production generated is highly inadequate. As commercial floriculture is an activity which has assumed importance only in recent times, there are not many large farms engaged in organised floriculture. In most part of the country flower growing is carried out on small holdings, mainly as a part of the regular agriculture systems.

Production Areas
The estimated area under flower growing in the country is about 65,000 hectares (Table 1). The major flower growing states are Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh in the South, West Bengal in the East, Maharashtra in the West and Rajasthan, Delhi and Haryana in the North. It must, however, be mentioned that it is extremely difficult to compute the statistics of area in view of the very small sizes of holdings, which very often go unreported. This perhaps would be the reason for unrealistically small areas reported for floriculturally active states like Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. More than two thirds of this large area is devoted for production of traditional flowers, which are marketed loose e.g. marigold, jasmine, chrysanthemum, aster, crossandra, tuberose etc. The area under cut flower crops (with stems) used for bouquets, arrangements etc. has grown in recent years, with growing affluence and peoples interest in using flowers as gifts. The major flowers in this category are rose, gladiolus, tuberose, carnation, orchids and more recently liliums, gerbera, chrysanthemum, gypsophila etc.

Area under Flower Production in India State Area (ha.) Karnataka 19,161 Tamil Nadu 14,194 West Bengal 12,285 Andhra Pradesh 5,933 Maharashtra 3,356 Rajasthan 1,985 Delhi 1,878 Haryana 1,540 Madhya Pradesh 1,270 Uttar Pradesh 1,000 Others 2,166 Total 64,768

The production of flowers is estimated to be nearly 300,000 metric tonnes loose flowers and over 500 million cut flowers with stem. In the case production also, the estimates could be at variance from the actual figures some of the flowers like rose, chrysanthemum, and tuberose are used both loose flowers and with stem.

of of as as

It may be mentioned that almost all of the area reported here is under open field cultivation of flowers. Protected cultivation of flowers has been taken up only in recent years for production of cut flowers for exports. The estimated area in production is about 200 hectares, which is likely to increase to over 500 hectares by the year 2000. Recognising the potential for low cost production for export, in view of cheap land, labour and other resources, several export oriented units are being set up in the country. These projects, located in clusters around Pune (Maharashtra) in the West, Bangalore (Karnataka) and Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) in the South, and Delhi in the North, are coming up in technical collaboration with expertise mainly from Holland and Israel. More than 90 percent of these units are for rose production, on an average size of 3-hectare farm, while some projects for orchid, anthuriums, gladiolus and carnation are also being set up. Nearly one third of over 200 proposed projects, have already commenced production and export.

Major Cut Flower Crops


Rose is the principal cut flower grown all over the country, even though in terms of total area, it may not be so. The larger percentage of the area in many states is used for growing scented rose, usually local varieties akin to the Gruss en Tepelitz, the old favourite to be sold as loose flowers. These are used for offerings at places of worship, for the extraction of essential oils and also used in garlands. For cut flower use, the old rose varieties like Queen Elizabeth, Super Star, Montezuma, Papa Meilland, Christian Dior, Eiffel Tower, Kiss of Fire, Golden Giant, Garde Henkel, First Prize etc. are still popular. In recent times, with production for export gaining ground in the country, the latest varieties like First Red, Grand Gala, Confetti, Ravel, Tin eke, Sacha, Prophyta, Pareo, Noblesse. Visalia, Vivaldi etc. are also being grown commercially. Gladiolus is the next most important cut flower crop in the country. Earlier it was considered a crop for temperate regions and its growing was restricted to the hilly areas, particularly in the north eastern region, which still continues to supply the planting material to most parts of the country. However, with improved agronomic techniques and better management, the northern plains of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, as well as Maharashtra and Karnataka have emerged as the major areas for production of gladiolus. Tuberose, a very popular cut flower crop in India is grown mainly in the eastern part of the country i.e. West Bengal, and also in northern plains and parts of south. Both single and double flower varieties are equally popular. Tuberose flowers are also sold loose in some areas for preparing garlands and wreaths. The other main cut flower item is orchid. Its production is restricted mainly in the north-eastern hill regions, besides parts of the southern states of Kerala and Karnataka. The main species grown are Dendrobiums, Vanda, Paphiopedilums, Oncidiums, Phalaenopsis and Cymbidiums. Among the traditional crops grown for loose flowers, the largest area is under marigold, grown all over the country. In most parts of the country only local varieties are grown for generations. African marigolds occupy more area as compared to the small flowered French types. Jasmine flowers in view of its scent are also very popular as loose flowers and for use in garlands and Veni (ornament for decoration of hair by women). The major areas under this crop are in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka in South and West Bengal in East. The varieties are mainly improved clones of Jasminum grandiflorum, J. auriculatum and J. sambac. The chrysanthemum, particularly the white varieties are much in demand as loose flowers during the autumn period of October-December when other flowers like jasmine, tuberose are not available for use in garlands etc. Among other traditional flowers grown in large areas are crossandra in southern states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and aster in Maharashtra.

Research Support

Research work on floriculture is being carried out at several research institutions under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, in the horticulture/floriculture departments of State Agricultural Universities and under the All India Coordinated Floriculture Improvement Project with a network of about twenty (20) centres. The crops which have received larger attention include rose, gladiolus, chrysanthemum, orchid, jasmine, tuberose, aster, marigold etc. The thrust till recently had been on crop improvement, standardization of agro-techniques including improved propagation methods, plant protection and post harvest management. In view of the fact that most of the cut flower production is being done under open field conditions, the research efforts generally relate to open cultivation. In recent years, however, technologies for protected cultivation and tissue culture for mass propagation have also received attention. A large number of varieties suitable for cut flower use, as well as garden display have been developed. Production technology, particularly the agronomic requirements and control methods for important diseases and insect pests have also been developed. Contribution by the private sector in research activities in floriculture is negligible.

Planting Material
The requirement of planting material to cater to the large area under flower crops, is largely met from domestic production. Since efforts to set up large commercial farms generally suffered due to lack of quality planting material in sufficient quantities, this aspect has received greater attention in recent years in the breeding centres, which are producing sufficient quantity of planting material. Most of the nurseries propagating planting material are in the private sector. In the absence of any mechanism to register nurseries, it is very difficult to ascertain their exact number, but at a very conservative estimate there are more than 100,000 nurseries, spread out all over the country, producing seeds and other planting materials for flower growers. The states with larger numbers of nurseries include Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Most of the nurseries are small, with little or no improved facilities like mist propagation unit, green houses/net houses etc. For meeting the demand of flower seeds, several large seed companies have production units in Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir in the North, Karnataka in the South and West Bengal in the East. A few of the leading multinational seed companies have tied up with local seed companies or producers for custom production of seeds of their varieties. In the case of bulbous plants, most of the planting material is produced in the north eastern hilly regions of West Bengal (Kalimpong) and Sikkim, though for some crops, it is also produced in hilly regions of northern India. The introduction of a revised seed policy by the government of India in 1989 has enabled unrestricted introduction of many new and superior varieties into the country, increasing the variety in the floral basket. Tissue culture has, in recent years, been recognized as an important tool in agriculture development. With its diverse climatic zones and qualified manpower, India is well placed to exploit the benefit of tissue culture based applications to floriculture crops. Most popular application of tissue culture has

been micro propagation using in vitro technique for mass multiplication of planting material. Tissue culture plants of ornamentals have found ready acceptance by the commercial growers and their production increased significantly from 130 million plants in 1985-86 to 680 million in 1994-95. At present 30 commercial tissue culture units with annual capacities of 0.5 to 15 million plants each are in operation, resulting in total capacity of about 110 million plants. While most of it is exported, a small percentage of cut flower crops like carnation and gerbera are finding good market within the country.

Potential for Cut Flower Production Development


The availability of natural resources like favourable and diverse climatic conditions permit production and availability of a large variety of flower crops round the year. Cheap labour leads to reduction in production costs, increasing access of the consumer to good quality flowers at affordable prices, besides increasing our competitiveness in the export markets. Being a new concept in the agri-business, it took some time for scientific commercial flower production to take roots, but with the appreciation of its potential as an economically viable diversification option, its growth is slowly stabilising. The government also has, during the last few years, recognized floriculture as an important segment for developmental initiatives. Model Floriculture Centres being set up in 11 major production zones, to serve as focal units for development in the region, have a mandate of making available quality planting material, new/improved production technologies and also to provide training in production and post harvest management. There are also special government programmes for area expansion in floriculture with state assistance. The National Horticulture Board, a major developmental agency for horticulture, also makes available finances as soft loan for setting up integrated projects for production and marketing. As mentioned earlier, the government is investing in improving the infrastructure for marketing in the domestic sector. Production of cut flowers for exports is also a thrust area for support. The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA), the nodal organization for promotion of agri-exports including flowers, has introduced several schemes for promoting floriculture exports from the country. These relate to development of infrastructure, packaging, market development, air freight subsidy etc. The 100% Export Oriented Units are also given benefits like duty free imports of capital goods. All these efforts indicate the governments commitment for improving the sector and creating a positive environment for entrepreneurship development in the field.

Constraints in Cut Flower Production Development

Being a new concept, the requirements of scientific and commercial floriculture is not properly understood in the country. The developmental initiatives of the government have to keep in mind the low knowledge base, small land holdings, unorganized marketing and poor infrastructural support. While long experience of flower growing in the open field conditions enable sufficient flower production for domestic markets, the quality of the produce, in view of its exposure to various kinds of biotic and abiotic stresses, is not suitable for the ever growing export market. The production technology for flowers under protected environment of green houses needs to be standardized. There is hardly any post harvest management of flowers for the domestic market. Availability of surplus flowers from exports for sale in the domestic market, has increased the appreciation of quality produce and the demand for good quality flowers is increasing. With the introduction of new varieties of crops in the country, facilities for generating their planting material for large scale production need strengthening. Special attention needs to be paid to strengthen the marketing infrastructure like organised marketing yards, auction platforms, controlled condition storage chambers etc. Greater research efforts are also needed for integrated pest management, development of location specific package of practices for traditional flowers, value addition to traditional flowers etc. The initial cost and availability of finance is a critical matter in the development of large commercial projects requiring heavy investments. More options for developmental finance, such as the soft loan scheme of the National Horticulture Board need to be identified. In the initial years of commercial floriculture development, the governmental support in terms of subsidies etc. needs special attention. The potential for growth of export market is always linked to the strength of domestic market - its capacity to absorb surplus and over production, and quality consciousness of consumers. Though we have a large domestic market, the marketing system and facilities need to be modernized. The production for exports at present has suffered due to a few constraints. While our growers have been successful in producing world class quality at low cost, high air freight rates, low cargo capacity available, imposition of import duties, inadequate export infrastructure etc. have reduced their competitiveness. There is also a shortage of trained manpower to handle commercial floriculture activity. The demands of the growing export oriented industry would require adequate attention to be paid for human resource development, particularly at the supervisory level. India has a long floriculture history and flower growing is an age old enterprise. What it has lacked is its commercialization. The growing demands of flowers in the domestic as well as the export market will require a concerted effort on the part of the government as well as the private entrepreneurs to develop floriculture on scientific lines. Paying attention to the input needs, better resource management and making various policies entrepreneur friendly would lead to a balanced growth of the industry.

International Floriculture Industry


The world floriculture industry is in a state of unrest, with drastic changes in supply and demand positions. New markets as well as new suppliers are emerging and disappearing in short span of time. The growth potential of the industry though affected significantly by the recent global economic crisis; nevertheless, the global exports has been growing at an annual average growth rate of 10.3 percent, and at this growth rate world exports are expected to reach US$ 25 billion by 2012. The world floriculture trade is characterized by a high degree of concentration by product and sources. Developed countries in Europe, America, and Asia account for more than 90 percent of the total world trade in floriculture products. International trade in floriculture, to a large extent is organized along the regional lines. Asia-Pacific countries are the main suppliers to Japan and Hong Kong. African and other European countries are the principal suppliers to Europe's main markets, and the supplies to the USA are mainly catered by Colombia and Ecuador. Further, traditionally, international trade in flowers has been considerably governed by bilateral/multilateral agreements and tariffs and quotas such as Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates, NAFTA etc. Estimates of the annual consumption of commercially grown flowers worldwide vary by source and range from US$ 40 - 60 billion. On the demand side, around

80 percent of the consumption is accounted for by six countries, including Germany, USA, UK, France, the Netherlands and Switzerland. While worldwide consumption has been on the rise, at the same time, consumers have also become more refined in demanding new products. For example, the Russian market and its preference for very large flower bud. In addition, niche markets in the Eastern Europe are becoming prime growth prospects. To meet this growing and changing demand, production has continued to move from countries that have traditionally been consumers and growers, such as the Netherlands, to other relatively new producing countries such as Colombia, Ecuador Kenya. The shift in production locations has mainly been driven by the existence of more abundant labour and land, and has been made possible by developments in air transportation and refrigeration. The impact of increased competition on prices has been varied by region. While producers in Latin America have benefited from relatively constant prices in the US market, by contrast, in European markets the impact of new African suppliers has been reflected in a downward movement of prices. In the recent years, two developments have had a significant effect on the global floriculture industry. The first is increased competition in production and distribution. In this regard, the established producers such as Ecuador, Kenya, Malaysia and Thailand have been expressing concern about the growth of the industry in China and India as China, in particular, is reportedly envisaging quadrupling annual exports of flowers to US$ 200 million or to more than a billion stems by 2010. On the distribution side, new flower centres have emerged in locations such as Dubai, Tel Aviv, and Kunming, China. These centres are forecasted to affect overall efficiency and lower transactions costs for distant producers, resulting in increased pressure on prices of cut flowers and foliage. The second important development, to a large extent is linked to increased competition and considerable progress that has been made in consolidation and vertical integration. For instance, the merger of the two largest Dutch cooperative flower auctions (FloraHolland and Bloemenveiling Aalsmeer) has given rise to the world's largest flower market place called FloraHolland, with combined sales of about US $ 4.68 billion. Furthermore, increase in trade through the direct sales channel such as supermarkets and retail outlet has resulted in drastic changes in distribution channels. Worldwide large retailers such as Wal- Mart and Tesco have increased the amount of purchases acquired directly from the growers under long-term contracts. As a result of which, the producers have also integrated. For example, Dole Fresh Flowers has its own chartered for flowers for daily deliveries in the USA. With regard to production, the competition in the floriculture industry is fierce,

continuously testing the adaptive capacity of the actors involved. There has been a levelling off of the competition on technological grounds over the last few years. However, infrastructure and policy support have become important parameters in judging the competitiveness in international markets. There also has been a motivation to breed hybrids and new varieties. Major selling agents of breeders have realised increased sale of planting material while reducing the prices. The industry is witnessing healthy exchange of breeders' material and collaborative breeding programmes around the world. Such initiatives are getting further momentum due to protection policies for new plant varieties under TRIPS (WTO). Respecting plant patent rights is thus becoming an important parameter to establish global credibility and access to the latest varieties. Floriculture activity has been traditionally attracting newer participants. However, only alert market participants have been witnessing success, as the product is highly perishable and vulnerable to quality parameters, and price fluctuations including intra-day price fluctuations. Productivity is a crucial aspect in this industry. Hence, successful producers have been investing in more labour-saving techniques in order to continue making profits. Quality is of paramount importance in the international trade of floriculture products. Producers, thus, need to conform to stringent phytosanitary requirements and must ensure that their produce is free from disease and that it is carefully treated once harvested. Further, consumers are becoming better informed and socially and environmentally conscious leading to higher demands on service guarantees, corporate responsibility related to flowers sold, and increasing number of codes of conduct becoming prominent in the flower trade such as the Dutch milieu programma sierteelt (MPS), Flower Labelling Programme (FLP), Fair Flower and Fair Plants label (FFP), etc. To guarantee a minimum number of days of vase life supermarkets and other competitors demand reduction in supply lead time. Floriculture marketing is also undergoing significant changes. As supermarkets are more focused on maximising volumes and efficiency in logistics, there is a little room for tailor-made products or delicate flowers and plants that cannot be handled in standard systems. This has been giving rise to a growing trade channel and opportunity of specialised florists and products in the floriculture markets, such as that of weddings, funerals, corporate events, and for offering exclusivity and creativity. A development that is to surely change the floriculture industry is the emergence of the online sales channel - a marketing channel that is steadily growing in the recent years with increasing urbanisation, and a culture of 'saying it with flowers'. Many small units have been facing problems due to uneconomic returns and high

overheads leading to reorganization and restructuring of product portfolios by entrepreneurs, which has been considerable during the recent economic slowdown. However, there is ample scope for even small and marginal entrepreneurs to exploit the global demand of flowers with improvements in quality of planting material, infrastructure, training programmes in production, harvesting and post-harvest management techniques, and product diversification, improving product availability and quality, and backed by adequate marketing support.

GERBERA

1. Introduction.
Gerbera is one of the most important cut-flowers, successfully grown under different conditions in several areas of the world and meeting the requirements of various markets. This success is primarily due to the wide range in colour and shape of the flower. In the past, all Gerbera's where grown from seed. This changed in the seventies, when techniques for multiplication with in-vitro became viable. These methods allowed a different approach in breeding and selection of Gerbera. These selections were very successful; several varieties from those days are still on the market (e.g. Delphi). Presently, Gerbera is a

plant which is multiplied 100% in-vitro, the most modern way of propagation in horticulture. Using this technique, it is possible to produce large amounts of a new variety in a relatively short span of time and thus intensifying the selection process. Breeding and selection is becoming increasingly more important. All these efforts resulted in a range of new varieties showing the Gerbera growers an exceptional flower and stem quality, to guarantee maximum user satisfaction. A high production of flowers with special emphasis on the so-called "winter production".

Growth of Gerbera.
Plant system:
Gerbera's are mainly planted on a bench system. The space required between the walking path is 75-80 cm . And the recommended distance between rows is 75-80 cm. The distance between the plants within the row should be 20 cm. The size of the distance between the plants is measured from heart to heart of the pot centre. A pot size of 3.5 / 4.5 litre and 18-20 cm deep is recommended. Before the system can be installed, the soil has to be levelled. Further, a gutter has to be installed under the pots in order to collect the drain water. In this way the ground under the system stays dry and the chance on Botrytis is therefore reduced to a minimum. This system provides the following advantages: The leaves can be bent, thus allowing the crop to become more open. It will improve the ventilation between the plants. It is easier to work while picking the flowers, or do crop maintenance. The (chemical) crop protection can be executed more efficient.

Installing of the system

Disinfection:
The following steps are to be taken before planting; Clean the ground and bench system so there are no old plant materials left in the greenhouse. Disinfect the drippers and the pots with a disinfection material.

Preparation of the soil.

To achieve the best result in growth of the plants, soil preparation before planting is required. Most of the growers a bark or coco peat mix in there pots. As it is important to have a good water / air alance, for the coco peat a mix with 40% perlite is recommended. At the bottom of the pot you have to put minimum a litre of coco peat fibre or backed clay to make it drain easier. The pot must be filled 105% with the potting mix.

Planting.
Planting should be done in uniformly moistened potting mix. Place the plant into the potting mix so the top of the jiffy/plug pot is 1 cm higher of the potting mix. If planted too high, the plants might break at harvest. While planting too deep increases the risk of disease (rotting of the heart). Prevent root damage by

carefully pressing the potting mix against the pot. Under conditions with high daytime temperatures in the greenhouse (> 30C), it is recommended to plant early in the morning or in the evening when the temperature is less extreme. To allow a good contact between pot and soil, it is recommended hand water very soon after planting. Again this should be done early in the morning.

Water supply. Drip irrigation.

A drip irrigation system is recommended; as each plant receives the same amount of water, and by supplying the water directly on the potting mix, the plant itself does not become wet (so preventing diseases). The pipes of the system are placed on the ground between the two rows, to prevent the dripper line becoming empty, and the water temperature in the dripper line is out the reach of direct sunlight. Watering, Start with irrigation about one or two days before planting, to make the potting mix already wet. This will help the gerbera plant to make a better start. Start one hour after sunrise when the plants are just planted in the pots. In the first 12 months you must be careful that the potting mix does not get too wet, in this period you could stop 5-6 hours before sunset. When the plants are full grown you could stop 3-4 hours before sunset, Use the drip irrigation 2-10 times a day. This depends on the size of the plant and the time of the year. There could be a difference, between a cloudy and sunny day of 40-50% in the usage of water with the gerbera plants. The drain must be between the 30-40% of the total water gift, Please note that there could be a difference between the structure of the soil, these means that every type of soil require a different amount of water. Per dripper a minimum of 60cc and maximum of 100cc should be give per irrigation. When the plants are older a minimum of 80cc per irrigation should be given depending on the season. Check regularly if the moisture of the column just below the drip is the same as at the base of the column. If the top soil is wetter than the soil at the base, increase the water quantity per supply. On the other hand, if the A capacity of 2 litre per hour is preferred as the chance of congestion is smaller. By using a drip system, a wet (water) column is created through which the roots grow. Place the drippers the first 2-3 weeks next to the jiffy pot, after 2-3 weeks when the roots are growing out of the jiffy pot in to the potting soil replace them approximately 5 cm from the jiffy pot. situation is reverse (top soil drier than base), reduce the water gift.

Screens

One of the elements that attributes to optimum growing conditions in greenhouses are movable aluminized climate control screens. Such screens are used for different purposes, all linked to the growing climate: shading, cooling, and temperature and humidity control. Besides this screens save on heating expenses. Short stems and a pale floral colour might be caused by too much sunlight and/or high temperatures. Shading will be the best solution.

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Condensation on the flowers, increases the problems with Botrytis on the petals (flowers). Avoid a rapid temperature rise, this causes condensation. If a heating system is available, raise the glasshouse temperature several degrees about four hours before sunrise. Start ventilation as soon as the sun starts influencing the glasshouse temperature. With dark and rainy days it is better to put a minimum temperature of 40 degrees in the heating pipe, this will activate the plant and reduce the change of botrytis

Fertilization.

A feeding unit with an A + B tank is preferred to give the exact quantity of nutrients to the plants. The EC and the pH are measured and directly corrected.

Fertilizer program:
Tank A. 100 1000 LITRES Ca No3 NH4 No3 Fe 26% Cao + 15.5 N 9% No3 + 9% NH4 EDTA 13% or Eddha 6% Concentration 75 0-3* 4** 1: Kg Kg Kg

Calcium Nitrate Ammonium Nitrate Iron Chelate

* This depends of the PH of your drain water, if drain water PH below 5.5 no Ammonium Nitrate in the solution. ** When the PH from the drain water is above the 6.0, you have to use EDDHA iron. *** This depends on the PH of the type of water you use e.g., rain, dam, bore water. Tank: B = 1000 litre Concentration 1: 100 Mono Potassium Phosphate Potassium Nitrate Potassium sulphate Epsom Salt Nitric Acid Trace Elements Manganese Sulphate Borax Zinc Sulphate Copper Sulphate Molybdate H2Po4 KNo3 K2SO4 MgSO4 HNo3 52% p2O5 + 34% K2O 13% N + 46% K2O 52%K2O + 16%Mgo 49%MgSO4 = 16% Mgo 38% 17 36 2.5 25 010*** 70 250 100 25 25 Ph 5.5-5.8 Ph 5.2-5.8 Kg Kg Kg Kg litre

Mn B Zn Cu Mo

32% Mn 11%B 23% Zn 25% Cu 40% Mo E.C 1.6-1.8 E.C. 1.8-2.0

Gram Gram Gram Gram Gram

Water Gift to plant Drain Water if Collected

Greenhouse climate.
In the initial period after planting, when light is a minor growing factor, shading of the glasshouse is necessary;

Gerbera's are not partial to windy circumstances. In the initial period after planting, the humidity should be high as possible; As the plants are developing, the light intensity and ventilation of the glasshouse may increase. The plants themselves will have a major influence on the glasshouse climate by now (microclimate); Moistening of the plants is not advisable, since leaf wetness should be avoided; Condensation on the flowers, should be prevented since it increases the problems with Botrytis on the petals (flowers). When this occurs, fungicides are of less use. Rapid temperature rise, should be avoided since this causes condensation. .

Crop maintenance.
Growing Gerbera's is rather straight forward, however picking leaves is often debated. Leaves, besides allowing photosynthesis, also reduce temperature and increase humidity, and therefore are an essential part of the plant. However, if the plants do become too bushy, it is recommended to remove only a few leaves at regular intervals. Do not take away too many leaves at once! One can pull the leaves from the plant (natural breaking point), or cut them off leaving half of the leaf still standing. N.B. While pulling the leaves, be careful not to break the plant or damage young buds. After removing leaves it is advised to spray for Botrytis.

Harvesting of the flowers. Picking the flowers

Depending on the conditions, a Gerbera starts flowering 8-12 weeks after planting. Harvest 2 to 3 times a week, however to get a uniform product some cultivars are recommended to be harvested at least 3 times a week.

Treatment after picking the flowers

1. Pick the flower from the plant when one or two rows of stamen are visible. This is important because raw flowers need much more energy to develop completely but they have only a few reserves. Due to this the durability of raw flowers is shorter. 2. Pick the flower of the plant instead of cutting it off. When the stem is cut, a part of it will remain on the plant and starts rotting. This part can infect the heart of the plant, which will result in stagnation in the development of new shoots. Therefore it is very important that the entire stem must be picked off the plant. 3. After the flower has been picked, 2 to 4 cm need to be cut off the lowest part off the stem. The lowest part of the stem consists of very narrow xylem vessels, through which the water can hardly be transported into the stem. By cutting off this hard part of the stem the flower can take up the water much better, which is important to avoid breach of the stem and bending necks. 4. Put the stems in clean buckets with clean water immediately after harvesting and place them in a cool area. Before every use these buckets need to be disinfected to avoid the growth of bacteria in it. Bacteria block the stem so that it cannot take up any water. Using clean water is very important, the pH of the water may not be too high, otherwise you create an ideal climate for bacteria. A pH level between 3.5 and 4 is good. Chloride is a good product to be added to the water, because this kills bacteria and makes the pH of the water reduce. Dont place the buckets in direct sunlight, because it will break down the Chloride. 5. The flowers take up water more easily if a large part of the stem is placed in water, 10 to 15 cm is ideal. The temperature may not be too high, because otherwise the flowers would lose too much water through evaporation. A temperature between 10 and 15 Celsius is ideal.

6. The area in which the gerberas are being watered for a long period should be free from ethylene. Ethylene is an ageing hormone that affects the durability of the gerbera. Ethylene is liberated for example from the exhaust-gases of engines. To avoid ethylene ageing of the gerbera flower, it is recommendable to turn off the engine of the truck during loading, as a precaution. 7. During the long period of watering the flowers, special flower nutrition can be added to the water. This gerbera flower nutrition consists of sugars and ingredients to bring the pH down as well as to reduce the growth of bacteria. Sugars have a favourable effect on the durability of gerbera flowers, but if only sugars would be added, this would seriously stimulate the growth of bacteria, so this is not recommendable. A high concentration of sugars in the petals make it easier for the flower to take up water, which results in a better blooming and durability. We recommend the use of an anti bacterial product (Florisant 500, or Chrysal RVB) to reduce the growth of Bacteria in the flower stems. 8. The loss of water in a gerbera flower causes ageing, so this should be avoided as much as possible. Avoiding draught or wind, as well as increasing the relative humidity around the gerberas up to 70% can decrease the evaporation of water by the flower. 9. During storage and transport the process of ageing can be slowed down by keeping them in a cool climate. By slowing down this process of live, the reserves in the flower wont be used and so they are saved for usage during blooming at the consumers. The ideal temperature during storage in the cool room and transport is between 6 and 9 Celsius

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