Orchid business blooming in Nepal

By Anjali Ramtel, Lalitpur:  Orchid cultivation is booming at local Badikhel village in the district in recent days. Seeing the prospects of orchid cultivation and the profits it could bring, hotel entrepreneur Kabiraj Rai who takes special interest in growing and taking care of flowers left his hotel business to take up orchid cultivation.

It has been 19 years now since Rai switched his profession. Not only Rai, many others in Badikhel village have been attracted to orchid cultivation as a means of living. Badikhel has suitable geographical and climatic conditions for growing orchid.

Rai had also attended a month-long training on orchid cultivation in Japan. “There is immense possibility of commercial cultivation of orchid in Nepal if it is to be done by using technology as is used in Japan. Sadly, there are neither technicians who can provide information on techniques of orchid cultivation nor the corresponding technology in Nepal,” Rai said. However, he is upbeat about the prospect of orchid cultivation in the country.

Rai said although there is high demand for orchid flowers in the national and international market, orchid cultivation has not been able to take its place in the international market for failure to adopt modern technology.

“Although the climate in Japan is not suitable for orchid cultivation, they are doing so very successfully by using high technology. But here in Nepal we have not been able to carry out orchid cultivation on a commercial scale despite having a suitable climate,” he added.

Rai’s orchid farm boasts of some 4,000orchid plants. He adds new species of orchids in his farm every year. He brings new species of orchids from abroad.

Hari Chaulagain, also from Badikhel, has been into orchid farming since the last four years. Although his orchid farm is no match with Rai’s, Chaulagain is struggling to keep his business going. Businesswise, he is yet to reach to a break-even point. “I hope to reach the break-even point only next year, as one has to wait for five years to take orchid harvest,” he said.

Although more and more people are being attracted to it, orchid farming has not picked up momentum as it requires big investment in the beginning, according to people doing orchid farming. Some 15 people are into orchid cultivation in Badikhel area these days. RSS

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