When I first entered the Horticulture and Flower business in the early 1990s, there was very little awareness about the high potentials of adopting modern farming. Today, the awareness is much more present with a strong backing of the government.
In our 15 years of existence as a brand in the Flower Industry and strong supporter of Horticulture industry in the North-East and Himalayan regions, we have seen both the challenges and opportunities in the business. The climatic diversity of the region and the wide variety of indigenous fruits and vegetables offer tremendous opportunity for applying modern farming for off-seasonal vegetables and fruits.
However, there is also lack of knowledge about quality, high-yielding variety of seeds and flowers that are in demand. In many cases, many gardeners still lag behind the European market by about 3-4 season, meaning we are still growing the same flower which was popular 4 years back, but now fetch lesser value in the market.
Secondly, any business dealing in perishable good needs to have an efficient logistics system. Flowers, fruits, and vegetables are highly perishable goods and even delay of a few hours could cost incur huge financial losses and serious damage customer relationships. As I always say, ‘fruits, flowers, and vegetables keep people closer to nature. It carries an emotional value and sense of aesthetics and health. Missing a flower delivery could mean ruining someone else’s most important event or day because flowers are ultimately tied to some important event at some place or somebody’s life.
Also, farmers from the mountain region lack a general awareness of the market. You will often hear that all farmers in a village are planting the same flower, fruit or vegetable because one from the village got high returns for their particular produce last year. The next year, the market for the crop goes down and everybody suffers a huge loss. Slowly, they begin to think Horticulture business is not for them and return to traditional agriculture.
While the potential is huge, what lacks is a holistic commitment that takes care of growers concerns – right from selecting the right selection of seeds and bulbs, to planting and maintenance, until the marketing and sale of the produce. While setting up the infrastructure is one part of the plan, ensuring long-term sustenance and quality production is the more challenging part.
The focus must be driven toward capacity building and training the local farmers and entrepreneurs with information about market, innovations, and focus on continuous engagement and assistance. In our 15 years of experience, we have seen farmers mostly worried about long-term sustainability and sale of their produces.
Any logistic breakdown or a disconnect between the market and the grower can lead to massive loss and miseries for the farmers. In an ideal world, the farmers must be aware of what the market needs at what time and then grow the food to meet the requirements. But the ideal things does not happen all the time.
At Himalayan Florica, we have set up our farms in Darjeeling and Himachal Pradesh. Besides we also work and partner with different farmers for contract farming and buy-back system. We work with a reliable team of experts and leaders in the field to ensure that we provide the best for our customers. Our wide network of growers and suppliers allows us to deliver a wide variety of offering for our customers.