Growing flowers is no more the domain of the plains. From being non existent over a decade ago, floriculture is now emerging as a major activity in the hills of Himachal Pradesh.
"Floriculture began here a decade ago. It is generating an economy of Rs 28 crore annually. Around 2,800 farmers are now directly engaged in commercial floriculture," said a spokesman of the state government."The unique flowers grown in Himachal are in great demand in Delhi and other cities of northern India. Farmers are fetching good returns," the official said.
Floriculture began to spread after the launching of the horticulture mission project in the state. Recently farmers have started setting up poly-houses in large numbers to grow flowers.
Financial assistance and technical inputs have also helped in the spread of flower cultivation. In 1993 floriculture was being carried out in only 30 hectares.This has now increased to 617 hectares.
The first model floriculture centre was established at Mahog Bag near the resort town of Chail, which has 1,706 sq mtr of green house area.