Jasmine cultivation being revived by extending sops to farmers
Two successive years of drought and depletion in groundwater level has affected floriculture in the State. While floriculturists have had to suffer huge losses, the area under cultivation of jasmine, marigold, tuberose, chrysanthemum and other traditional flowers has come down by about 10,000 hectares in Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Hassan, Kolar and Tumkur districts, according to sources in the Horticulture Department.
At least 30,000 hectares was covered under traditional flower cultivation in the State and the annual production was around two lakh tonnes. The approximate annual revenue generated from traditional flower cultivation was about Rs. 350 crore to Rs. 400 crore, which is higher than the income earned in hi-tech floriculture under the greenhouse method, the sources said.
With the area under cultivation of traditional flowers declining, the annual output has dropped resulting in rise in prices of flowers. Besides drought, another factor that has contributed to the reduction in the area of cultivation of flowers is the fact that farmland in many places has been converted into residential properties. For instance, in Mysore, where Mysore Mallige, a special variant of jasmine known for its unique fragrance, is grown, many jasmine growing areas have been converted into residential properties. The other jasmine-growing areas that are affected in the same way are
Dakshina Kannada, Udupi, Bangalore Urban and Hoovina Hadagali.
However, efforts are on to revive cultivation of Mysore Mallige. A senior Horticulture Department official, who retired from service recently, told The Hindu that steps had been taken to revive the cultivation of ‘Mysore Mallige’ that has bagged the Geographical Indications (GI) tag. A growers’ society has been constituted and subsidies are being granted for its cultivation under the National Horticulture Mission (NHM). The department has identified clusters for boosting jasmine cultivation.
Speaking to The Hindu , Assistant Director of Horticulture (Floriculture) G. Sowjanya admitted that the area under cultivation of flowers has come down due to lack of rain and dip in groundwater level. The scenario may change if there is good rain this year. However, steps have been taken to boost the production of popular variants of jasmine such as ‘Mysore Mallige’, ‘Udupi Mallige’, ‘Hadagali Mallige’ by extending sops to farmers.