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Floriculture in Pakistan – A SWOT analysis




  • Introduction

    Pakistan is a country of small farming households, where, floriculture is the best option of enhancing the income of the under privileged. Introduction to the floriculture crop could be an important intervention in this regard where the farmer can earn much more by exploiting available natural resources more efficiently. We have favorable climate and cheap labor for growing these crops whereas they need much less land and water for production. These crops also give the premium prices almost round the year and there is no need to wait for a long time as in the case of other routine crops. Net profit against the investment is much higher for these crops compared with others conventional crops. The products are in high demand all over the world. But in Pakistan, floriculture is in its embryonic stage. There are lack of resources and skilled persons to develop the floriculture industry up to international stander. It is need of the time to produce skilled personals and explore new means to ensure survival of our farmer and explore marketing to save our economy as well as increase our exports.

    Production areas

    for all floriculture trade. Pattoki “mandi” is the major forum for buying and selling of fresh cut flowers especially roses. About one million pieces of cut flowers are daily exported from Pattoki to different market in Pakistan, more important of which, are Karachi, Peshawar, Lahore, and Islamabad. The flowers are packed into wooden or paper carton, with each flower pack containing 50 pieces of cut flowers. Each package one thousand pieces of cut flowers (20 packs @ fifty pieces). These packages are transported to the destination by railway and road.

    Some of the problems faced by the floriculture producer in Pakistan:

     

    • It is difficulty of a farmer to obtain quality plants in the desired variety.
    • Availability of appropriate facilities for harvest and post-harvest management.
    • Imbalance fertilizer application
    • Non availability of sufficient amount of water in accordance to its need.
    • Low productivity and high cost of production
    • High percentage of post harvest losses
    • Inadequate storage facilities and outdated methods used in processing/packing
    • Inadequate market information
    • Difficulty in obtaining a suitable land for expansion and in obtaining financial assistance.
    • Lack of irrigation facilities
    • Non availability of cold chain storage facilities
    • Lack of appropriate packaging for floriculture produce.
    • Lack of well established information database.
    • Lack of infrastructure to support the technology development, education and training.

    Opportunities:

     

    • Continued development of exports of high quality flowers and bulbs into overseas markets, with special emphasis of roses for oil extraction.
    • Continued support for the expansion and development of the flowers bulb sectors of the industry.
    • Encouraging and supporting the formation of bulb certification scheme, particularly for bulb exports.
    • Promoting opportunity for the development of native flora for the domestic and export markets.
    • Identification of market niches that can be supplied talking advantage of Pakistan’s climate.
    • Increase the networking ability of the industry and the work with key grower groups to increase their market access.
    • Increase the industry’s access to skill based training schemes.
      • Challenges:
    • With some popular flowers types oversupplied in the international markets, ensuring the quality and quantity of products will be important to maintain market share and development of export opportunity.
    • Increaseing national coordination of the industry to maximize the effectiveness of marketing promotion in export market.
    • Ensuring the availability of skilled labour during harvesting. Processing is laboured intensive and vital for the product quality.

    Exports of Floriculture from Pakistan Exports of cut flowers and house plants are the need of the day of Pakistani farmers (growers). Being in the stage of infancy the target quality and quantity cannot be achieved unless modern ways and means are adopted along with the provision of basic infrastructure. This will include expertise (staff and skilled labour for  crop management, grading and packing), technical advice on production, post harvest techniques, legal and financial marketing aspects, adequate cool room capacity, reliable supplies of quality planting stock, contact supplies of packing material, post harvest dis-infestations facilities(for pest control), refrigerated transport to markets, reliable freight forwarded reliable specialist exporters. This will be additional to capital (large amount is required to run the business), market search (to exploit sale opportunity) and the scientific data (to explore the suitability of verities to certain situation and regions). These modern ways and means of production and marketing will ensure quality production and proper utilization of produce up to the end consumer. 

     

    Exportable cut flowers

    Rose, Carnation, Statice, Gypsophila, Gerbera, Anthumrium, Sanpdragon, Marigold, gladiolus, Narcissus, Freezia, Tuberose and lily.For the exports of flowers, Pakistan is updating technology but it still needs to look at alternatives to the country’s-old growing and exporting methods.

    Reshipment checking is a vital part of ensuring rotting perishable items sent abroad. Therefore Pakistan needs a “cool chain” which would ensure flowers/plants to be kept in suitable environment from the moment they leave the fields to when they reach the shelves.

    The development of the “cool chain system” would not only increase shelf life of the horticulture products but would also reduce exploitation of growers in the hands of the buyers due to their perishable nature.

    The “cool chain system” covering the whole country could save about the 40% production that is wasted due to absence of proper cold storage facilities and improper handling. It is necessary that E.P.B. (export promotion bureau) and PHDEB should evolve a plan of action to boost production and exports.Although a cut flower farm is a profitable and attractive venture. The grower is still not rewarded properly in financial term for this work. The middleman or shopkeeper takes a major share of the profit. Especially, shopkeeper enjoys the maximum margin. There is an opportunity for a flower shopkeeper or exporter to set up a business backed by this own cut flower farm. An investor in the floriculture sector can get maximum profit by making the product value added for supplies to hotels as flower baskets, bouquet, and bunch or for direct export.

    The prospects are bright for the export value to double in a very short time. And if quality standards are maintained, the exporter will be able to command a premium price for these products.

    It is interesting to know the Pakistan exports cut flowers, not only to the Gulf States but even to Europe. The exporting of cut flowers from Pakistan is still very much in its infancy as the necessary infrastructure, such as cold-storage, is not yet fully in place but it is still encouraging that this is now being looked at seriously.

    Problems

    • Major problem hindering the exports are post harvest treatments.
    • Lack of knowledge of markets.
    • Absence of modern marketing techniques.
    • Casualness about standardization and quality controls.
    • Lack of shipping and air cargo facilities.
    • High fright rates
    • Lack of proper control of diseases and pests.
    • Stiff competition in the foreign market.
    • Government needs to strengthen the infrastructure facilities for the treatment, transportation and storage of flowers designed for export. It needs to work with the existing Agencies in providing the much needed support to their work in their areas given the perishable nature of product, long transit time. In excess of 25 days for most European ports seriously affecting the shelf life and marketability of the product.
    • If flower export has to be increased, new market would have to be explored and an aggressive marketing approach with unified negotiation strategy adopted, opening of new market under the WTO (world trade organization) regime offers immense opportunities for export of fresh flowers/plants.

    The major advantages of Pakistan over other flower exporting countries

    • Favorable agro climatic conditions
    • Easy availability of land
    • Cheap labour
    • Proximity to markets in Japan, Pacific Rim, south -east Asia and middle east countries which have a large growing demand.
    • In west, the biting cold of winter months curtails flower production during fold. As this period is the prime cultivation time in Pakistan, the potential is enormous.
    • Cut rose flower fetch maximum price during first and last quarter of the year, whereas, during 2nd and 3rd quarter, prices is less. The Pakistani flowering season is during the period from November to April; hence the produce will be available in 1st and last quarters, thus commanding highest prices in the international market.

    Export constraints:

     

    Pakistan’s export of floriculture product is not encouraging. The low performance is attributed to many constrained like:

    • Non availability of air space in major airlines, since most of the airlines operators’ prefers heavy consignment.
    • The existing numbers of lights during the peak seasons is not sufficient for export purpose.
    • Exporters for infrastructural problem like bad interior road, inadequate refrigerated transport and storage facilities.
    • Lack of professional backup of delivery and supporting companies, which resort in to high cost of technology.
    • Tedious phyto-sanitry certification and an unorganized domestic market.

    Solution of these problems:

    • In order to overcome these problems, attention must be focus on:
    • Reduction in import duty on planting material and equipment.
    • Air flight should be reduced to reasonable level.
    • Sufficient cargo space may be provided in airlines.
    • Establishment of model nurseries for supplying genuine planting material.
    • Cooperation florist organization should be established at regional level.
    • Training centers for diploma course for training the personnel in floriculture should be setup.
    • Exporters should be plan and monitors effective quality control measures right from production to post harvesting, storage and transportation.

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