Poor yield of ‘Madurai Malli’ (a variety of jasmine) in the district, mainly due to cold weather, has increased its price to a maximum of ₹ 1,200 a kg. Usually, the yield improves in February but there is no such improvement this year, say farmers.
It is cultivated in Tirupparankundram, Chellampatti, Usilampatti, Tirumangalam and Kallikudi blocks in the district.
Jasmine grows between February and November, says N. Jegatheesan, president of Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who is involved in its export. The yield is lower during from December to January due to cold weather but it picks up in February. But, this year, there has been an unusual weather pattern as early mornings in February are cold,’ he says.
S. Ramachandran, president of a flower vendors’ association at Mattuthavani flower market, says the market used to receive 5 to 10 tonnes of jasmine in February. ‘But, we received only around 0.5 tonne of jasmine on Friday morning.’
K.Sasikumar, a farmer, says that farmers are able to get a yield of only two kg of jasmine from an acre of land. ‘This year, there was an unseasonal monsoon as there was rain in the district till mid January. This affected growth of the crop.’
Some farmers started cultivating other crops due to losses in the wake of lockdown, says Prasanna Ramachandran, a member of ‘Madurai Malli’ Development and Production Trust. ‘With closure of markets and poor demand for jasmine during the lockdown, many farmers faced severe losses. So, some farmers chose to cultivate other crops.’
Many farmers failed to maintain their fields due to the uncertainty during the lockdown, says Mr. Sasikumar. ‘It has affected the yield. Farmers are expecting improvement in the yield at least from March onwards.’