Huma, a small sleepy village in Ganjam district of Odisha, best known for its salt farming, is proud to be on the orchid world map today. Syed Maqsood Ali of Bhubneswar has converted one acre of farm land into a pilot project of orchid farming. It stands cradled on three sides by the peripheral villages of Chaityanapur, Satuli and Lauput of the Ranibara mauza.
To reach this farm one has to follow the meandering paths that go deep into the village and is surrounded by verdant foliage. This stand-alone project is subsidised by the central sponsored schemes.
Maqsood was insprired by S.K. Gutgutia of Florance Flora, a leading plant dealer from Bengaluru, who he met in Delhi. Gutgutia was invited to Odisha where he examined the soil and climate. Huma was found to be feasible for orchid plantation. The project started with sourcing orchid plants from Thailand and Benguluru and planting them in Huma. It was a great challenge, but now with more than 40,000 flowering plants, six employees who look after them and 12 marketing executives, orchids are being supplied to Vizag, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Kolkatta and the local market.
“Global warming does impact flower cultivation and consequently floriculture. In the wake of climate change, green house cultivation is the only way to protect the crops and get a greater yield. We grow the Dendodbrium Sonia-17 which is free-flowering in nature and is favoured by our customers. Packaging and shifting of the flowers to distant places is a difficulty but we are working on it. The response is very good and this keeps me motivated,” says Maqsood.