Flower Cultivation in Jashore: Exploring Floriculture Potential

In many developing and underdeveloped countries floral industry add a huge contribution in the GDP. Bangladesh has exported flower valued 17.33 million USD in the first half of the current fiscal year, with an addition of 9.20 percent over the same period last year, according to the data from the export promotion bureau. Flowers are grown commercially on 1320 acres area under Jhikargacha and Sharsha upazila of Jashore in 90 villages of 6 unions. Currently, in nearly 3000 hectares of soil at Godkhali in Jhikargacha upazila and 100 more neighboring villages, flowers such as rose, tuberose, orchid, gladiolas, gerbera etc.

are cultivated commercially for national and international export needs (Rakibuzzaman, 2018).

Jashore, a district in the southwestern Bangladesh, is bordered by India, and other districts which are Khulna,  Narail, Satkhira,  HYPERLINK ” o “Jhenaidah District” Magura and Jhenaidah District. The district produces a variety of crops all through the year. Date sugar, locally named as patali, is made from the sap date trees grown in the area.

Jashore district was the first district in Bangladesh the then British India, established in 1781. It consists of 8 municipalities, 36 wards, 8 upazilas, 93 unions, 1329 mouzas, 1477 villages and 120 mahallas. British administration was finally established in Jashore district in 1781. On 6 December 1971, Jashore became the first district of Bangladesh to be freed from Pakistani occupying force.

One of Jashore’s highly profitable agricultural product is flowering as it is more lucrative than any other traditional crop. From mid-1980s large-scale commercial flower harvesting begun in Jhikargacha upazila district of Jashore, (Sultana, 2003). The flower cultivation gained popularity among farmers as it yields 3-5 and 1.

5-2 times higher return than paddy and vegetable production respectively (Dadlani, 2003).

More than 5,000 resilient farmers in the nation are increasing flowers and about 150,000 individuals are engaged directly or indirectly in company of floriculture as their primary livelihood (Chowdhury, 2010). The region covered by commercial flower cultivation is about 10,000 hectares of land, while commercial nurseries cover between 2,000 to 2,500 hectares of land (Momin, 2006).

Knowing Bangladesh is an important objective of Module-1 in course guidelines. For this purpose we have been attached to Jashore District to know about the district and also its potentials. Jashore is highly suitable for cultivation of rice, vegetable, fruits and flower because geographically the area is free from flood. Cultivation of flower is more profitable than other crops. A large area of Jashore is used for flower cultivation and large amount of people involve directly and indirectly on this sector to enhance the socioeconomic status. But there are some challenges which needs to be solved. Modern flower cultivation should be adopted to gain more profit. The communication system is also needs to be improved.

The study will be conducted in Godkhali villages in Chanchra upazilla of Jashore District. In the field survey, semi-structured questionnaires will be used to interview the farmer of flower cultivation. Primary data will be collected by direct interviews and focus group discussion. Secondary data will be collected by different journals, papers, articles etc.

This type of research needs to consider the whole chain to be studied. The sample size of the survey is also very limited. Those limitations are resulted from the scarcity of time and manpower. Very few interviews only with the farmer were conducted in this research. That’s why the finding of this research may not be give the whole scenario of this sector.

Godkhali, under Jhikorgacha Upazilla of Jashore district is famous around the country for the flower production. About 90 percent sold in Bangladesh market comes from Jashore. In Jashore 11 different types of flower is cultivated and total area of cultivation is 1320 hectares. First ever flower research center of Bangladesh is being established in Jashore.

Although the cultivation of the flower requires more initial investment due to the high cost of the plants or seeds, sheds, fertilizers. Moreover, flower cultivation requires more labor than traditional crops. Also, the controlled irrigation network needs to be established.

Another distinct feature needed for the flower cultivation is highland free from flood. Geographically Jashore is situated in a favorable position which is flood-free historically. Also flower is a highly perishable product so the transportability is a big issue. Godkhali flower market is situated just beside the Jashore-Benapole highway. And the flower fields of the Godkhali is within 5 miles range from the flower sales market. So, the supply-chain of the flowers is also very good.

In the research, view from the farmers and the local traders were taken. From the questionnaire it is found that, among the different varieties of the flowers highest net return is achieved from rose, then tuberose, gladiolus, marigold sequentially.

Figure SEQ Figure * ARABIC 1 Flower Harvesting in Godkhali, JashoreFrom the field visit the authors have found that, in the fields specialized irrigation network is established with high maneuverability. Also, the shed is made from locally available materials. But the authors have also found that, most of the flower famers gathered their knowledge about flower farming from experience and sharing of available knowledge from other farmers. But they lack any specialized training about the farming. Moreover it has been found that the farmers lacks knowledge about the post-harvest processes. Due to the lack of knowledge and facility, wastage of flowers is highest among the commercial flower harvesting among the world. As specialized cold storage is not available nearby so the farmers put the flowers in cold water, compromising the quality of the flower. Also, grading of the flower is done by naked eye using experience rather than the standards followed by the developed world. Packaging of the flower is also done in a very unprofessional way which leads to the deterioration of the sensitive flowers. Also, transportation of flowers is done in a sloppy manner, as most cases the delicate flowers are carried by vans, rickshaws and battery-driven vehicles. During the transportation most of the flowers get damaged. Also, the condition of the road is very poor which leads to jerking and vibration of the flowers.

From the study the authors have found that, the flower cultivation is economically more beneficial in comparison with other crops. Interviewing the local people it was observed that more people are highly interested to switch to flower harvesting from the traditional crops. As a large portion of the flower seeds needs to be imported the initial cost of the flower production remains high. Also, due to the domestic demand limitation they are barred from switching to flower production. But if the flowers can be harvested, stored and transported in a scientific way then the shelf-life of those flower would increase manifold, creating the opportunity for export. Moreover using scientific method supported by proper infrastructure flower farmers can increase their net profit due to lesser waste and higher production.

Flower is a highly demandable product across the world. If the potential of the flower export can be milked properly, it is possible to export a significant amount of flowers every year. This will not only improve the socio-economic condition of the local people, but also help to increase the export earning of the country. This would also help to diversify our export basket which is currently over-dependent on garments. This would also help to combat the unemployment problem of this area, as the flower industry is a labor extensive industry both in the farming stage and value-chain stage.

The authors have also identified that a very small percent of the revenue earned from the flower sales goes to the actual famer. With the eradication of middle man this ratio should be improved so the farmers would be incentivized to harvest more flowers.

Precise and regular weather prediction is also a key factor for the flower production industry. In our survey farmers are not very aware about the agro-meteorology service provided by Bangladesh meteorological department. Also the service is not still very user friendly for the farmers to understand.

This research finds that, flower-farming has a huge potential to improve the socioeconomic status of farmers, expanding opportunities for self-employment, encourage entrepreneurship in both urban and rural regions and boosts export-trade to gain foreign currency, it demonstrates to be a potential instrument for poverty alleviation and sustainable growth in the economy of Bangladesh.

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