|Production and Marketing of Ornamental Plants in Western Uttar Pradesh: A Success Story
Muzaffarnagar, an agriculturally dominant district in western Uttar Pradesh has a predominance of Sugarcane based cropping system. Though, this crop has major share in this district, but sugarcane growers find it hard to fulfill their economic requirements for day to day life. As a result, the younger generation is getting lesser attracted towards sugarcane cultivation partly because of above reason and partly because of non-availability of labour for farm operations. They are seeking for the alternate options of sugarcane based system which may offer better return to them.
The proximity of Muzaffarnagar district to National Capital Region (NCR) gives the district an advantageous position. Also, because of rapid infrastructure development during last 10 years in NCR has generated a huge demand of ornamental plants for aesthetic purposes.
A young farmer from this district Sh. J.P. Singh who is educated in horticulture and having personal contacts in Delhi got motivated in this direction. Considering the huge demand of ornamental plants in NCR, he started his own nursery on four acres of land during 1997.
Sh. J.P. Singh started with ornamental plants like Washingtonia palm, Bottle palm, Fish tail palm, Bamboos, Ficus topiary, etc. Other plants like Ashok Pendula, Champa (Alba) and Nickdevia were also added for production in his nursery. About 10 regular trained laboures were employed for day to day care of nursery. Mostly two types of demand were coming to him. Small but healthy plantlet were demanded by the city dweller and; big malls, residential townships and five star hotels demanded well-established ornamental plant with zero waiting period. Such big plants are booked in advance by the buyers. The plants are transferred in gunny bags at right time for proper establishment before transporting them to the planting site.
For plants like Ashok Pendula and Champa (Alba), he gets the average price of Rs 300-500 per sapling/cutting. For Nickdevia, the rate was Rs 1500/sapling. He is getting the still better market price of Rs 2000-3000 per plant for Fishtail Palm and Bamboos. Other ornamental plants like Washingtonia Palm and Bottle Palm are sold on the average price of Rs 3000-4000 per plant. The ready-to-use plant with zero waiting periods like Ficus Topiary fetches as high as Rs 10000-30000 per plant.
Now, Sh. J.P. Singh earns on an average of Rs. 30 lacs per year from 04 acres of land. He has improved his economic status and added several material wealth to his life. He has become a great source of inspiration to other nearby farmers and farm youth. As a result, 36 young farmers have taken guidance and training from Sh. Singh for cultivation of ornamental plants and till date, 32 young entrepreneurs have been developed on small scale in the locality.
Sh. J.P. Singh has emerged as the role model for educated youth who wish to start business on ornamental plants. The rural youths trained by Sh. J.P. Singh are in great demand for beautification purpose in NCR. The Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Muzaffarnagar is extending full-fledged support in organizing such training programmes by Sh. J. P. Singh besides giving technical backstopping.
(Source: Zonal Project Directorate (ICAR), Zone IV, Rawatpur, Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh)