Land of flowers

Print edition : December 15, 2006

Cattleya hybrid. -

WITH over 4,000 species of plants and shrubs, around 7,000 varieties of rare orchids and rhododendrons and mountain flowers of myriad hues and sizes, Sikkim is not just a paradise for nature lovers, but also a very important centre for floriculture. Making full use of this natural advantage, the State government has successfully implemented a multi-pronged strategy for the development of floriculture. Land availability, young entrepreneurs, capital investments from banks and convergence of resources are the main factors behind the success of floriculture in the State.

Development initiatives by the government include expansion of land under floriculture, mass publicity through training and awareness camps, establishment of joint venture companies and market linkage through market intelligence network.

One of the thrust areas in this sector is the promotion of cymbidium orchids, alstroemeria, rose and gerbera. For promoting cymbidium orchids, 157 units have been developed covering large areas of East, West and South districts of Sikkim. A Cymbidium Development Centre has been envisaged at Rumtek, which will have facilities for research, a full-fledged tissue-culture laboratory for production of planting materials, and a virus indexing unit.

Phalaenopsis mannii-

The high level of investment required makes it difficult for the State government to promote floriculture in all parts of the State. It has marked out some areas as Floriculture Zones - for example Assam Lingzey for cymbidium orchids, Duga Bhurung for gerbera, Kamrang for alstroemeria, gladiolus and gerbera, and so on.

Also, for the first time in Sikkim, rose cultivation has been started commercially, for which a complete pre-fabricated green house with high-quality planting materials have been imported from the Netherlands, and from reputed nurseries in India.

Papphipedilum Rosalin.-

The government has also established two joint venture companies for the development of floriculture - the Sikkim Himalayan Orchid Ltd at Assam Lingzey, and the Sikkim Flora Ltd at Mazitar.

Suhrid Sankar Chattopadhyay

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