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Updated: July 19, 2013 12:32 IST

Drought drowns scent of jasmine

Special Correspondent
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Lack of rain and low demand have triggered slide in the price of jasmine. Photo: A. Muralidharan
The Hindu
Lack of rain and low demand have triggered slide in the price of jasmine. Photo: A. Muralidharan

The daily arrival in Srirangam market has dropped from 3,000 kg last year to 2,000 kg

Poor rainfall, drought, and the start of Adi month in Tamil almanac have all pushed down the price of jasmine in Tiruchi district.

Wholesale dealers in Sattara Street in Srirangam – the hub for flower trade in Tiruchi — say that the arrivals had been poor in recent weeks. The daily arrivals had come down from the usual 3,000 kg last season to 2,000 kg this July, says S.B. Sakthipriyan, a wholesale dealer in Srirangam.

The price has slumped from Rs. 150 a kg last month to Rs. 100 now.

Kumar, a jasmine grower of Puliyur village, says apart from quantity, the quality of the flower has come down because of poor rainfall and scanty irrigation facility. “The size of the flower is small this season and it is not as strong as it should be,” he says.

Jasmine is cultivated on 1,500 acres of land in the district. The major villages are Ettarai, Puliyur, Mudhalaipatti, Melapatti, Kaundanpatti, and Koppu all in and around Andhanallur block. The flower is cultivated in parts of Manapparai, Vaiyampatti, and Thuraiyur blocks where fields with black cotton soil have some irrigational facility. “Black cotton soil is ideally suited for the flower,” says a Horticulture Department official.

About 3,200 farmers are involved in cultivating jasmine in the district and the crop is raised on smaller areas ranging between 3 cents to 8 cents. From 24 tonnes last year, the average daily yield has come down to 22.5 tonnes, according to data available with the Horticulture Department.

The flower is harvested between May and October and the two months between July and August has been its peak season when the yield is maximum. The fag end of the season commences from November and extends till January. “The demand for flower registers a sharp rise these months,” the official says.

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