Nature’s bounty: How this man from the Valley turned his love for flowers into his livelihood

For eight years, Firdous Ahmad Mir would skip his classes to visit the famous Kashmiri gardens. He would happily do it for his love for floriculture.

For eight years, Firdous Ahmad Mir would skip his classes to visit the famous Kashmiri gardens. He would happily do it for his love for floriculture.

His love affair with it continued for a long time until one day he decided to act on it. As soon as he graduated, he turned a big stretch of land at his native village at Kanipora, Kulgam into a flower garden and within years, Firdous expanded his venture from three to ten kanals of land. At the same time, he started attending floriculture workshops around the country to brush up on his skills.

Today, Firdous grows 70,000 different varieites of tulips – which he had brought from Holland- in his ten poly houses and other varieties of flowers like Lilium, Carnation, Gerbera, and Gladiolus.

Registered with the state Floriculture department, this 30 year-old floriculturist supplies flowers and seeds to prominent departments of the state and just last year he supplied tulips to Srinagar’s botanical garden. Now, along with a group of young men, he’s also started his own marketing team and delivers flowers to different parts of the country.

“I am currently sending flowers to Ludhiana, Delhi, Chandigarh and Jammu. After I realised it’s growing demand I also started marketing it in south India,” he says.

Firdous showed us a long list of clients across the country adding, “More clients are approaching me.”

Firdous’s mentor is his uncle Muhammad Sultan Bhat- who has been growing flowers since the past three decades, but when it comes to running the business, he is one step ahead. We say so, because other than marketing and cultivating flowers, he’s into landscaping work.

When asked about how did he get into landscaping, Firdous says, “After getting registered with the floriculture department in 2009, I undertook a landscaping project at the Srinagar Airport where I groomed my skills.”

People started recognising his work and the rest is history.

It will be an understatement to say that Firdous is at the right place at the right time as currently, floriculture has a major potential in the valley. The boom started in the 90s, 1996 to be precise when an area of 80 hectares for flower cultivation catapulted to a whooping 350 hectares. However, like everything else, there is still room for improvement.

Firdous says that the government can do more by providing subsidy on air freight as flowers cannot be transported through road pertaining to the high temperature outside the state.

“We have a huge market outside the state but it becomes difficult to transport flowers due to the high air fare. A kilo of flowers costs us Rs 28. If government provides us a subsidy on the fare, our business can develop manifold. This might even influence people to get into the business,” said Firdous.

Firdous wants more and more people to take up floriculture and also has a message for the youths of the Valley.

“The youths of the Valley should not run after government jobs. Instead, they should explore other options. I want to expand my business, and provide job to many more unemployed youths of Kashmir.”