Monsoon has led to dip in prices of jasmine, the “queen of fragrance”, making it affordable for consumers. Although this has cheered the consumer, the same cannot be said of the growers. Monsoon has meant low yield and low earning for them.
Udayabhaskar, a grower from Santyar near Puttur, said that monsoons meant no temple fairs, marriages, and religious functions. Hence the demand for jasmine has dropped and so has its price. At the same time, there would be fewer yields in rainy season. Jasmine is sold in terms of chendu and atte.
According to the city-based Assistant Director of Horticulture Pradeep D'Souza, himself a grower, one chendu in the form of a festoon should be eight inches long, when folded in six layers. One atte equals four chendus.
Many consumers are not aware of it. He said that as per an agreed principle of the market, a chendu should be nine inches long and should have 800 jasmine buds. If the buds are large, it should have 700 buds.
Jasmine now sold Rs. 80 to Rs. 85 an atte for growers, while in summer they took home Rs. 400 an atte. But flower traders in Mangalore charged between Rs. 120 and Rs. 140 an atte on Tuesday. Mr. Udayabhaskar alleged that many traders always charged double the actual price for consumers. In addition, they meddled with the length of the chendu by cutting it short. They meddled with its fold, he alleged. He said that he harvested 30 chendus a day now against 90 chendus harvested a day in summer.
Mr. Ramesh Kaintaje, another grower from Mani, said he did not sell jasmine as it was not profitable. Instead, he offered it to god, he said.
Mr. Kaintaje said that he would sell the flower once the prices rise.
Mr. Udayabhaskar said that usually prices rise in mid-monsoon that was late July and early August. This was because of shortage of supply during these months. A trader at Kankanady said that once in July last year, prices had soared to Rs. 600 a chendu. “With less rain this season will jasmine bloom like it did in summer? We have to wait and watch,” said Mr. Kaintaje.