One acre anthurium cultivation requires Rs.50 lacs.
Coorg Floriculture Association, engaged in anthurium cultivation was established in 1995 in Kodagu district. The association has its farms in Biligeri and Hakathur village in Madikeri taluk of Karnataka. “It started as a hobby,” says Mr A.R. Shivaprasad, secretary of Coorg Floriculture Association. Apart from anthurium the farms also grow foliages and vanilla.
According to Mr. Shivaprasad, the annual production capacity of the farms is 5,00,000 flowers per year. “About 40,000 plants can be planted in an acre. We grow the Dutch variety of anthurium involving about 45 varieties in around 30 colours,” he maintains. When asked why anthurium is so expensive, Mr. Shivaprasad explains, “The plants are not available in the domestic market and have to be imported,” adding, “Also they require personal attention as they are very sensitive.”
Mr. Shivaprasad says, March to June and September to November are the right seasons to plant anthurium in Kodagu District. “The right climatic condition required to get the best yield of anthurium is 70 inches rainfall per year,” he says. “We apply water soluble fertilizers at the time of planting and also later on,” he adds. The farm provides the required shade for anthurium through shade net and the soil medium used is coirpith or coconut shell. The anthurium plants also require irrigation. They need watering three times a day, except in monsoons. The most common pest related problems in anthurium are caterpillar and bacterial blight, which can be dealt with pesticide spraying. The first harvest can be expected after 16 months from the time of planting.
Economics Of Anthurium Cultivation
Mr. Shivaprasad says the investment required for cultivating anthurium on one acre is Rs. 50 lakhs and the net profit the grower can expect would be Rs.80 to Rs.150 per plant. “The market for anthurium is good,” says Mr. Shivaprasad, adding, “The cultivators need not go in search for buyers as they will come and contact them directly.”
[hidepost] Discussing the price of anthurium the growers are getting in the market, Mr. Shivaprasad says, “It is Rs.15.5 for extra large flowers, Rs.14 for large, Rs.11.5 for medium, Rs.4 for small and Rs. 3 for mini anthuriums. The vase life of anthurium is 30 days.” The domestic market for anthurium is excellent. “The association does not export anthurium as they are unable to even fulfill the domestic market,” maintains Mr. Shivaprasad.
Area Under Cultivation
In Kodagu district the total area under anthurium cultivation today is 25 acres. Though Kodagu is naturally blessed with low temperature, good rainfall and a fertile soil, which are essential for anthurium cultivation, only a few farmers have taken this up as a commercial venture. It is so because the initial investment is an entry barrier for most farmers. The cultivation of anthurium on an acre requires an investment of around Rs 50 lakh. Only five units took up anthurium cultivation in Kodagu in 2003, and there was none during 2004.
Mr. Shivaprasad hopes that increased lending to the agriculture sector would encourage farmers to take up its cultivation in a big way. The country leading in anthurium production is Dutch/Netherland but India has high potential for growing anthurium. The government also provides subsidy to help anthurium growers. “However, we expect the government to provide proper transportation of product at a competitive price,” adds Mr. Shivaprasad. He further suggests vanilla, bird of paradise, foliages and medicinal plants other than anthurium to farmers that have a good market and are profitable.
Mr. Shivaprasad is B.Sc by qualification and did graduation in law from Mumbai University. He was a practising advocate at Madikeri bar since 1980 and was the legal advisor for Canara Bank, Corporation Bank, State Bank of India, Vijaya Bank, Karnataka Bank, Grameena Bank, and ING Vysya Bank before entering into the field of anthurium cultivation.