Floriculture denotes cultivation of flowers, developing new varieties of commercial value, sale of flowers as raw commodities, processing, distribution etc. for the local and international market. Floriculture is emerging as a blooming business not only in India but in other countries as well. The major importing countries of flowers are Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy and Japan while the important exporters are Columbia, Israel, Spain and Kenya.

The Indian Scenario
Floriculture industry in India comprises flower trade, nursery plants and potted plants, seed and bulb production, micro propogation and extraction of essential oils. The annual domestic demand for the flowers is growing at a rate of over 25% and around Rs 90,000 crore internationally. India's share in international market of flowers is negligible. Though the art of growing flowers is not new to India large-scale commercial scale cultivation, protected cultivation in poly-houses is relatively new in our country. Enormous genetic, diversity, varied agro climatic conditions, versatile human resources offer India a unique scope for diversification in to new avenues which were hitherto unexplored or under-explored. India seems to have a bIooming future of floriculture as there is a shift in the trend towards tropical flowers and this can be gainfully exploited by India.

Need of Institutional Support
During the last ten years, taking advantage of the incentives offered by the Government, a large number of floriculture units have been established in India for producing and exporting flowers to the developed countries.
Of the four zones identified as potential centres for flower production namely Bangalore, Hyderabad, Pune and New Delhi, the area around Bangalore and Pune have got the advantage of ideal climatic conditions where the temperature ranges between 15 to 30C. In view of this, the units established in these locations do not require either cooling or heating system.
The units located around New Delhi, though are near to the international airport but have the disadvantage of high as well as low temperatures resulting in additional capital investment for installation of cooling and heating system, besides incurring additional running cost for power and energy. Hyderabad has got the disadvantage of experiencing high summer temperature. Delhi and Mumbai are the most important markets for cut flowers. Himachal Pradesh, endowed with different agro-climatic conditions ranging from sub-tropical to dry temperate zones, has premium potential for growing cut flowers, which are off-season.
With a view to provide an undivided institutional support to this sector, the Department of Floriculture and Landscaping was carved out from Vegetable Crop and Floriculture in Nov. 1987. After its formation, the department is actively engaged in Teaching (undergraduate and graduate levels), research and extension education activities. Today, the discipline of Floriculture and Landscaping in the Dr.Y.S.Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Solan has made significant progress and ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research) has identified this centre as National Repository for Carnation under All India Coordinated Floriculture Improvement Project.

Employment Opportunities
One can work in different capacities such as consultants, farm/estate managers, plantation experts, and plantation supervisors, project coordinator. Research and teaching are some other avenues. Recently, marketing of Floriculture products for different ventures has also emerged as a potential segment of this field. One can also work as entrepreneur and offer employment to others.
Potential Employers
* Floriculture units
* Outdoor design consultancy firms
* City planners and builders
* Educational institutions offering related courses
* Industrial houses having landscaping units
* Cosmetics and perfume industry
* Pharmaceuticals
* Self employment

The task of floriculture
The job encompasses handling plantations, nurseries and other landscaping projects. These works need scientific management of soil preparation, sowing, harvesting, administration of nutrients and controlling the climate. Knowledge and skills of procurement, collection, and distribution are some other requirements of the job. These skills and knowledge are imparted under the professional courses of floriculture and landscaping. A professional qualification combined with an inclination towards gardening and such other activities will produce efficient floriculturists and landscaping professionals.

Types of courses available in floriculture and landscaping Following courses are available:
* Certificate courses
* Graduate level
* Post-graduate and doctoral level

Reputed institutions* offering course in floriculture and landscaping
* Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, Solan-173230 (HP)
* Jawaharlal Nehru Krishi Vishva Vidyalaya, Jabalpur (MP) Website:
* Chawdhary Sarwan Kumar Himachal Pradesh Krishi Vishva Vidyalaya, Palampur (HP) Website:
* Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University, Nasik (Maharashtra)
* Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana, Website
* University of Agricultural Sciences, Gandhi Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Bangalore, Website :

Short courses are also run by the department of Horticulture in different duties.

(The author is a freelance journalist.)ENews