Italian lovers can now gift roses from West Bengal to their sweethearts, with the state government planning to tap the European nation's market for exporting the flower, said an official here Sunday.
"With over one lakh pieces per week, the demand for roses in Italy is huge and we want to tap the market. The plan to export the flowers is in place and the agricultural marketing department has already allotted Rs.16.5 crore for the project," State Agricultural Marketing Minister Arup Ray told IANS.
The first shipment will be sent this year itself.
The department is also in talks with several Italian trade organisations, who would facilitate the export and also train the cultivators about new and improved ways of farming the flower.
"The project will initially be started on a pilot basis in Bagnan (Howrah district) and later will be spread to Panskura (East Midnapore) and other flower growing areas of the state," said Ray.
The government is also mulling to establish a flower market apart from constructing cold storages in the area.
"In spite Bagnan and Panskura being major flower producers there is neither a proper marketplace nor storage facilities. We will be setting up cold storage facilities in these areas. Talks are also on for establishing a flowermandi (flower market)," Ray added