Berhampur: Even as orchid flowers have a high demand in the national market, farmers in Ganjam district growing orchid flowers face loss due to stiff restrictions imposed in the aftermath of spread of Covid-19, a report said.
The flower is cultivated in the district with the assistance of the district horticulture department. The flower to bloom depends on the moisture content present in the atmosphere.
Farmers said the temperate climate prevailing in the district is favourable for the cultivation of the flower. However, farmers in the district are facing loss over the last two years due to stiff restrictions imposed following the spread of the pandemic.
Farmers usually sell the flower for Rs 5 to Rs 10 per piece but their profit margin and the demand have gone down after the imposition of Covid-19 curbs in the state.
Farmers do not get the volume of orders they got in the past. The flower is in high demand during marriage, Bratopanayan and other celebrations.
The flowers are transported to Bangalore, other parts of Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and to state capital Bhubaneswar.
An examination has confirmed that the quality of flowers cultivated in Ganjam district is better than the flowers produced in Tamil Nadu. This has pushed its demand in the markets in other parts of the country.
The annual turnover from the flower business in the distrcit is more than Rs 1 crore. Keeping its profitability in mind, the district horticulture department promotes self-help groups (SHGs) to get involved in the orchid cultivation.
The district horticulture department has been providing 70 per cent subsidy to the SHGs taking up orchid cultivation.
Prompted by this move, a women self-help group at Bhikaripalli under Chhatrapur block took up orchid farming on an experimental basis and has reaped success.
This has motivated others to come forward as Balakumari, Singhasini and Bhairavi SHGs have taken up this farming.
Sarat Chandra Behera, deputy director of district horticulture department said orchid cultivation was undertaken in the district on an experimental basis in 2012.
The harvest and business was quite well in 2017-18. Orchid saplings that cost Rs 56 a piece are brought from Pune. The yellow, white and pink varieties are cultivated in Ganjam.
Currently, the cultivation is being done on 12 to 14 units in Rangeilunda, Humma, Sanakhemundi, Kabisuryanaga, Chhatrapur and Pursottampur blocks.
The cultivation is spread more in Humma block where the best quality orchid is produced, he added.
Sanjeev Purohit, a farmer of Sanakhemundi, said Rs 15 lakhs to Rs 17 lakhs is required for cultivation of the flower and coconut coir ropes for an area of 1000 square metres, covered by a plastic net.
He added that the ropes are sprinkled with water through which the saplings receive moisture from the atmosphere. The saplings take around six months to grow. The flower produced is sold at Rs 10 a piece in the market.