Is ornamental horticulture answer for low-income group of Farmers?

Pakistan has all climates with all types of lands available for cultivation. Soils are rich in productivity in dry plains and snowy mountain tracts. Where Pakistan has productive lands, there over population has created problem of divided holdings in the country? Small landholders have emerged in huge counts; therefore they are playing an important role in agricultural economy of the country. This category of growers is passing through a miserable economic life, which needs no comments, as every mastermind of the country is well aware. Every government in the past has advocated and gave slogans of boosting agricultural income of small farms. Still the farmers are passing a miserable life. Government has taken number of steps to improve agriculture inland but poor conditions of small land holders has never been dressed which went on deteriorating. Farmers having less than six acres of land are suffering to the maximum. Total numbers of such farms in Pakistan are innumerable. Various agencies involved helping in the field are Provincial departments of revenue, agriculture, cooperatives, ZTBL and all commercial banks in the provinces. Loans in billions are distributed every year.  The poor, insane, simple farmers either are declared ineligible or procedures of assistance are so tedious and tiring that one gets tired and looses interest and lives under economic stress. Flowers demand is increasing day by day. Annual ornamental horticulture trade is 50 billion dollars approximately in global market. Major share of sales and consumption is in western nations. India has taken lead and has gained market share up to ten% of world sales. Pakistan is not mentionable. Floriculture is a field, which has a capacity to build economic returns at doorstep of cultivators Floriculture, is one segment of ornamental horticulture, the others are: 1.    Growing ornamental trees and shrubs. 2.    Ornamental nursery productions. 3.    Indoor houseplants. 4.    Cacti, aloevera and others. 5.    Bulbous and rhizomes. 6.    Miniatures, creepers, climbers 7.    Grasses and ground covers 8.    Creation of gardens parks and landscapes. 9.    Herbs and medicinal plants. 10.    Industrial use of flowers. All the above fields have their own importance of economic productivity for farmers, but individuals have a choice which segment they wish to adopt. Certainly, wishes will be to easy earn in a lesser period of time. Accordingly, growing flowers will be the right choice. Now flowers are divided in annuals, perennials and seasonals. Roses are perennials, whereas marigold, chrysanthemums are annuals and bulbous cuts are considered seasonal. Seasonal besides ornamental use are cultivated for commercial entrance. Crop matures in three to four months, hence suitable for small landholders. All conditions i.e. soils slightly acidic, porous, suitable temps, and all other managerial facilities must be congenial to grow flowers. Properties situated near cities with easy approach, having good irrigation facilities and will of the owner to grow will be appropriate to start. To mention flowers produce reasonable rewards in cool seasons from September to April. Rough calculations of profitability can be inhaled from the under mentioned table. 1.    Gladioli 2.    Liliums 3.    Cut roses 4.    Marigold. 5.    Gerberas. This crop is not for easy goings and technically unsound ones Incomes drawn from flower raising is obviously high which creates capability of producers to cope with the day to day family and field requirements. But not possible unless small landowner is properly financed from public sector and financial institutions with out involving in redtapism. Where farmer need education from floriculture department under their extensive education programme for agronomic and other modalities of production, sales and postharvest techniques, there his financial requirements are also to be taken care of. India is good example in this context. India started ornamental horticulture almost a decade ago. Besides meeting its home demands it has entered in exporting club of the globe. It is only due to the fact that authorities have moved in the right perspective. Farmers are appreciated to share subsidies and other financial facilities provided in this field of production of high value added crops. We must think to establish a model horti training institute like the one in Pune, India and provide generous aids to uplift the poor miserable small farmers. Studies are proposed to amend the aims and objects of A.S .F a project of MINFAL to provide direct help to the small floriculture growers. Further establishing pure commercial floriculture field service will be appreciated. Amendments in accepting equities from small farmers, growing flowers will add to promote economic resource to develop floral industry. Financial institutions have to frame modalities for providing finances for seeds, greenhouse installations and other requirements. Govt may consider subsidies on item wise on equipments. Farm clusters if formed can help in boosting small farms income. Pakistan with entire natural and human resource at hand has an edge over all other countries. Advent of world open market system has provided a chance to compete both forces inland and in the globe. Sustained efforts for ornamental horticulture and truck farming may take the country to earn considerable foreign exchange, a good addition to the national exchequer. Nation has to take steps as a prime target to produce internationaly accepted quality flowers with adopted value addition techniques. Confident we are as a nation nothing can stop to achieve the progress if there is will to put the small farmers on sound production programme by the masterminds of the nation with the promise of achievements. We have to achieve this goal abiding by all rules of WTO making Pakistan exporting country in ornamental horticulture with the enthusiastic, zealous and ambitious efforts of both public and small landholders.

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