Rajahmundry: Following huge global demand, the government has decided to boost floriculture in Kadiam, known for its nurseries which grow ornamental and fruit-bearing plants.
According to an estimate, the Kadiam nurseries have an annual turnover pegged at Rs 2,000 crore as they export plants to the US, Europe and the Gulf. In 2015 alone, farmers exported plants worth $1 lakh, especially to the Gulf.
In response to this demand, the state government has decided to set up a Regional Research Centre for Floriculture under the aegis of the Indian Council for Agriculture Research at Vemagiri and a quarantine station too.
The nurseries are located mainly in Kadiam mandal, but others such as Alamuru and Athreya-puram too are also trying to grow them.
Kadiapulanka village is the centre of attraction and several villages located around it also have nurseries. There are about 3,000 plant nurseries located in 4,000 hectares with about 60,000 people earning a living out of them. These villages are located on the banks of river Godavari and are therefore endowed with fertile soil and plenty of water.
The farmers inherited the art of plant cultivation from their forefathers, knowledge that they are perpetuating from generation to generation. They observe the specific character of a plant with regard to its size, colour, shape of leaf, flowers and other details and graft them with other plants and re-graft them to develop unique plants that have a good demand in the international market.
They raise various flowering plants like chyrsanthemum, marigold, lily, rose and avenue plants, besides horticulture crops, such as mango, guava, lemon, cashew nut and others. The domestic market is mainly based in Chennai, Bengaluru, Bhubaneswar, apart from the keen overseas market.
The state government is now eager to encourage the horticulture farmers in the district by providing them more amenities and training to enhance their scientific knowledge and thus help improve productivity.
Indian Nurserymen Association president Palla Subramanyam said, “We need more support from the government to use technology to enhance our production and good facilities locally, given the stringent norms for export of our produce overseas.”
Horticulture assistant director K. Gopi Kumar said, “The state government is providing good support through all means to farmers at the Kadiam nurseries and if they avail of them properly,it will help boost the production.”
Apart from the production, the state government intends to develop Kadiam nurseries as a tourist hub, which will entail developing the roads, proper maintenance of sanitation and supply of potable water.
If developed as a tourist hub, villages like Kadiam, Kadiapulanka, Burri Lanka, Potti Lanka and others will get connectivity to NH-16.
Farmers have been told to develop guest houses, wooden cottages and restaurants for the benefit of tourists.
Akhanda Godavari project special officer Bheem Sankar said, “We have asked several departments to come up with estimates to develop amenities for tourists in villages.”