Arenjungla Kichu | Mokokchung | 15 May
According to International Market Analysis Research and Consulting Group (IMARC Group), the Indian floriculture market size reached Rs. 231.7 billion in 2022 and is expected to reach 460.6 billion by 2028, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13.1% between 2023 and 2028.
On 13 May, Advisor to the Chief Minister, Abu Metha, informed that the state government would formulate some programs and initiatives to boost the industry and help increase livelihood programs for Nagaland flower growers.
With Mr Metha observing that flower industry in Nagaland can contribute towards the State’s economy, Mokokchung Times reached out to a Mokokchung-based flower grower Imlienla Imchen, a resident of Mokokchung’s Alisungkum sector, who has been nursing flowers as a hobby since she was a high school student and has now expanded it into a business with her own nursery in Marepkong ward, Mokokchung.
According to Aien, the plant she sells helps her earn an approximate sum of Rs 4 to 5 lakhs per annum, and agrees that this business can help anyone sustain a living. Aside from economic generation, caring for the nursery brings her joy and helps her during stressful times.
Aien’s passion for flowers began at an early age, but it wasn’t until her undergraduate years in 2011-12 that she decided to transform her hobby into a professional occupation. She stated that she applied for a few government job examinations until she transformed her hobby into a business by 2015-16, when she began selling her flowers.
Management and challenges
Management and flower care, she explains, come from her many years of experience and knowledge she can sometimes receive from the internet. Simultaneously, her husband, Limasemba, a teacher by profession with a PhD in Botany, assists her with plant identification as well as marketing, logistics, and in extending manpower for her endeavors.
Along with the couple, they have four other people working full-time to take care of the plants. According to her, some of those they’ve employed have advanced in their skills and are now growing their own plants.
According to Aien, she sells her plants mostly to other districts, such as Dimapur and Kohima, while she also receives orders from villages and churches within Mokokchung district. She viewed that, perhaps, her plants are on demand from buyers because she gives out at very reasonable prices and sometimes would give the bulk orders at wholesale price.
When asked how she cares for her plants in unfavorable weather conditions, she said that she keeps green plants and Laceleaf (Anthurium) in her polyhouse during the winter; otherwise, she claims Mokokchung and Wokha in Nagaland have such a ‘good climate’.
“In Mokokchung, all seasonal flowers and green plants grow well. We are blessed with such beautiful climatic conditions,” she stated.
However, taking care of a nursery is not without difficulties. According to the couple, some of the obstacles they faced include lack of adequate water supply, labor forces, transportation and connectivity, and climate change.
“In terms of water supply, we have now begun harvesting rainwater through storage tanks. Taking care of a nursery is actually very labor-intensive, so you may face some labor challenges, but the main issue will be a lack of rail and air connectivity,” the couple explained.
Aien, in addition to raising seeds and saplings, imports flowers from other places such as Pune and Guwahati; so, anytime they import live plants, they often end up losing some plants during transit due to absence of quick transportation medium such as railways and flights to Mokokchung.
They also stated that preserving fresh and cut flowers is a challenge because there are no storage facilities.
How the State can tap the growing floriculture practice
According to them, the flower business in Mokokchung is growing, and factors that contribute to this growth include increased availability of flowers and seeds, as well as an increase in flower lovers these days across gender.
Recognizing that there are many flower growers, they stated that the government can play a huge role in encouraging the young florists of the state. They believe that the government can help through microfinance and infrastructure development like assisting the florists in setting up nurseries at a subsidized rate and providing appropriate irrigation facilities.
“Florists should also be supported by providing training in various nursery techniques. The government can also help the florists by supplying high-quality flower seeds, gardening tools, fertilizers, organic manures and other supplies, as well as assisting them in connecting with the market. It would be ideal if the government could make arrangements to purchase the flowers from the growers. Furthermore, they can help with the export and import of flowering plants and should reduce customs duties on importing floral plants,” the couple said.
According to the couple, identifying locations for the building of parks, botanical gardens, bamboosetum, orchidarium, and so on, and granting subsidies to some select florists to maintain them, they believe, will provide a good platform for landscape maintenance and job creation.
“It will encourage florists to grow more flowers and decorative plants. Annual festivals, flower shows, exhibitions, and other themed events can be held in all districts on a regular basis. The government should encourage florists to preserve rare and endangered plants in their own locality,” they continued.
However, the couple noted that in order to nurture a nursery, it requires ‘passion for the love of flower plants, diligent work, and consistency’. The couple, however, feels that if one is enthusiastic about flowers and is interested in such a business, they should go ahead with the journey, even if it requires a small initial investment.
In the nursery, Aien grows a wide variety of plants including Giant peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii), Baby’s breath (Gypsophila paniculata), Parlor palm (Chamaedorea elegans) and many more. She also grows horticulture plants like Red lady papaya and Raja Mircha (Capsicum chinense). Aside from the nursery, Aien also has a collection of artificial flowers that customers can rent for weddings and other occasions.
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