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Initiatives to tap export potential of orchid

Kolkata, Jun 23 (UNI) Recognising the huge potential of orchid in international market,
the West Bengal State Horticulture Department is embarking on a slew of steps.
Orchids are mostly grown in colder regions. Darjeeling grows Cymbidium orchids in
abundance, which is in high demand in countries like USA, UK, Australia and Japan.
Cultivation of orchids is a low-cost activity and the flowers can be grown without a
greenhouse.
However, after harvesting, the flowers need to be shipped out quite fast. Hence, the
department is talking with the Airports Authority of India to upgrade Bagdogra Airport
so that it can handle more international flights. With the upgrading, the market for
South-east Asia can also be tapped for export.
Another issue being looked into is packaging. Exports require packaging of
international standards that ensures good shelf life.
Hence, the department will hold talks with Indian Institute of Packaging for having
a packaging protocol for flower exports.
Another issue coming in the way of higher exports is the fact that the Cymbidium
orchid has a long gestation period of four to six years.
To resolve this, the department is working out on how to use advanced technology
for the cultivation of these flowers and extend all required help to the cultivators.
Another major challenge is to source good orchid varieties to keep pace with
emerging trends, since demand in the orchid industry is determined by changing
tastes. Hence, plans are being made to cultivate more species of orchids as per
demand.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, while attending the Hills Business Summit in
Darjeeling last March, had asked the CII to prepare a detailed project report on the
cultivation of cinchona, orchids and medicinal plants, all of which have huge
markets, both internationally and in the country.
The initiatives taken by the Horticulture Department in realising the huge export
potential of orchids are in pursuance of that.
UNI SJC BM
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