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Orchid cluster devastated by Fani and Covid
The Orchid Cluster at Humma in Ganjam district, which was the largest producer of Asian climate flower in the country, has been withering away since 2019
Berhampur: The Orchid Cluster at Humma in Ganjam district, which was the largest producer of Asian climate flower in the country, has been withering away since 2019.
Cyclone 'Fani' dealt a devastating blow to the cluster as it blew away its net houses and green houses. Then came Covid which wiped out its business cycle.
"Earlier, we were producing 50,000 sticks of orchid flowers a week. But by 2020, we could manage to produce only 1,000 sticks per week", said Rabindra Nath Patnaik, who has been producing orchids in this cluster in 2,500 square metres since 2015. Located 40 km from Berhampur, Humma Orchid Cluster had 20 entrepreneurs who were producing orchids in 60,000 square metres of land with an annual turnover of Rs 2 crore.
Orchid is one of the most sought after exotic flowers in the country as it can stay fresh in vase for a month. It is grown on a small scale in Goa, Sikkim, Coimbatore and Kaziranga. But the climatic condition for its growth is most favourable in the belt from Chilika to Gopalpur. Orchid requires tropical climate with a temperature of 16 to 35 degrees Celsius and more than 55 per cent humidity throughout the year, said Rabindra Nath.
Thailand, which tops the list of countries producing orchid, meets about 90 per cent of the demand of the flower in India. Earlier, Ganjam used to supply less than 10 per cent of Orchid to Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and other cities by train and flight services. The wholesale price of each orchid stick in Ganjam was Rs 20 and it was available in the market at Rs 35 to Rs 40 which was cheap and best.
The orchid flower producers are yet to recover from losses suffered due to Fani and Covid. "We are unable to give regular nutrients to the plants. The production and sale have dropped. We cannot revive our trade without getting financial help from the government", said Rabindra Nath.