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Horticulture Board planning to establish floriculture farms

LAHORE (December 25 2007): The Pakistan Horticulture Development and Export Board (PHDBE) is planning to set up `floriculture common facility farms` to help the farmers in getting interested in growing export-quality flowers on large scale.

Each province, including Punjab, will have a farm, and the Board is searching for a suitable place near Pattoki or Renala Khurd, Board sources told Business Recorder on Monday. They said that global flower trade these days is in excess of $5 billion, and is increasing every year.

In recent years, China, India, Kenya, Columbia and Israel have done exceedingly well in this field and are among the leading exporters now, though Holland is the market leader in this trade, the added.

The flower trade worldwide is changing rapidly with more flowers being needed the year round for the fast developing impulse sales in the mass-market. These will have to be produced under the most competitive conditions. Many countries are getting into cut-flower production, both for domestic consumption and export.

Each country has its own particular climate, which growers have to use to develop their specialties. Each country also has its own limitations in the form of logistics, which can dictate where flowers are to be sold.

Sources said that cultivation under controlled environment of greenhouses is recommended to overcome climate conditions and provide most suitable growing environment for top quality and high yield.

The greenhouse cultivation is an expensive medium and can be out of reach of the individual farmer. The cost to each farmer will be substantially low since key facilities will be provided by the zone. Punjab will be taken as a model, and later would replicated with slight modifications as per geographical conditions of each province.

It is proposed that the size of the first farm should be 30 hectares (75 acres). Each farm in the zone will be of two hectares (1.5 hectares green house and 0.5 hectares open space). Total investment of each farm will be Rs 80 million. This will include development of land, provision of common facilities, like drip irrigation, cold store and packing house on nominal charges. Sale and marketing will also be the responsibly of each farm, which after deduction of expenses and nominal margin, will pass on the balance to individual units in the shape of price. Profit earned by each farm will be used to develop the zone, provide technical training to farmers through local and foreign consultants, a modern laboratory and on marketing.

Another project which the Board is planning is to set up a `floriculture market` near Lahore where farmers will be helped to set up their shops to sell their flowers both for export and local consumption.

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