24 November, 2020

Blooming Business

As hybrid orchid farms mushroom all across the country, the demand for, and profits from, this rare flower soar

Blooming Business

THEY come in spidery speckled reds and dancing sprays of yellow; in moody blues and dusky purples; in violets, pinks and lilacs with hearts of virgin white. In fleshy rusts and pastel greens, in delicate sprigs and strange sci-fi shapes. There are in fact over 30,000 species of them. And yet, despite their sheer profusion, orchids have remained symbols of the exotic, the mysterious, the inaccessible and the wild. Coveted possessions of the connoisseur. For which a customer in Japan or the US is willing to pay anything from $3 to $35 (Rs 130-Rs 1,500) for a single quality stem!

In India though, the taste for orchids is new. Until about five years ago, there was almost no trade in cut flower orchids here. The few spikes that did make their way into domestic markets were mostly rejects from Singapore and Bangkok, bought cheap at Rs 3 to Rs 25 a stem, and shipped out in random dribbles by a motley brigade of air hostesses and opportunists who sold the spikes for about Rs 50 a piece to florists in India. The customer here then ended up...



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