Strategic plan in place to tap domestic and global jasmine markets

The famous jasmine variety ‘Madurai Malli’ is all set to waft its fragrance as a strategic plan is ready to promote it in domestic and international markets through a special incubator set up to create jasmine value chain.

Production and marketing constraints of jasmine growers will be addressed through the ‘Madurai Malli Incubator’ which was opened in the Agricultural College and Research Institute (ACRI) campus here on Thursday. With the support of the district administration, the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and the Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute for Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) have prepared an action plan for the development of ‘Madurai Malli’ growers.

The second consultative meeting in this regard was held at ACRI in which jasmine growers, university experts and floriculture officials worked out a plan to address all constraints starting from production to export.

G. K. Arun Sundar Dayalan, Additional Collector, Madurai district, who was explained about the objectives of ‘Madurai Malli’ incubator was also briefed about the advanced packaging technology developed for export of jasmine to various countries.

The Action Taken Report of the first stakeholders meeting held here on February 25 this year, which was attended by the then District Collector U. Sagayam, was also discussed.

Along with an exclusive incubator, it is also proposed to establish Madurai Malli Development Council which will work jointly with Agri-Business Incubator of ICRISAT to explore new markets in India and abroad.

Major jasmine growing blocks in Madurai district at Tirupparankundram, Thirumangalam, Usilampatti and Chellampatti were being studied in detail through field visits and interactive meetings with growers with the support given by the Horticulture Department.

A. R. Mohamed Haroon, Professor and Head of Department of Soil and Environment, ACRI, said that the incubator will address a gamut of issues concerning jasmine growers in Madurai district.

Right now, ‘Madurai Malli’ is being grown on 1,250 hectares by 4,000-odd farmers in the district.

The hurdles faced by jasmine growers include huge price volatility, debts with commission agents and lack of adequate cold storage facility. Prices of jasmine vary from Rs.60 per kg during high production months of April to July to Rs.700 during winter months of November to February.

A report prepared for the consultative meeting has said that demand for jasmine is increasing due to its unique fragrance but there is a huge demand-supply gap of fresh flowers. Major sources of demand for ‘Madurai Malli’ are the large consumer retail markets at Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, New Delhi and Mumbai. Normally, the total annual demand is estimated to be 10,500 tonnes while the district produces only 9,500 tonnes.

The constraints faced by jasmine growers include labour scarcity, seasonal fluctuations, influence of commission agents, no separate cargo facility for exports and absence of standard weighing machines in flower markets.

Resources are being mobilised for taking up initiatives under ‘Madurai Malli Growers Development’ framework. An allocation of Rs.75 lakh has been proposed of which Rs.30 lakh would come from the district administration under the Collector’s Innovation Fund.

The Business Planning and Development Unit of Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore, is actively involved in promoting ‘Madurai Malli’ as a global brand.

K.Vairavan, ACRI Dean, M.Jawaharlal, Professor and Head, Department of Floriculture, TNAU and S. M. Karuppan Chetty from ICRISAT, Hyderabad were among those who spoke. The office of ‘Madurai Malli’ incubator is situated in ACRI campus here.

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