Andhra Pradesh

Flower growers down in the dumps

Hopes wither: A farmer looking at the rose plants in his field, in Vijayawada.   | Photo Credit: KVS Giri

There are chrysanthemums. There are roses. There are marigolds in full bloom everywhere. Brightly coloured blooms that might normally have been destined for markets are either wilting or being thrown into garbage.

The flower farmers are, apparently, not happy due to the lockdown. With markets shut for many days now, agricultural labourers are hardly available, leaving the farmers clueless.

“Unless we harvest flowers at regular intervals, we cannot save the orchard. First, we don’t find labourers. Even if we pay double wages to cut the flowers, it will be in vain as the markets are shut,” says Sonti Ram Mohan, who has a rose orchard in 90 cents at Mallempudi village in Guntur district near here.

There are many farmers like him who have lost all hope. The plight of traders associated with the floriculture business is no different. The coronavirus outbreak has grounded deliveries and shipments. It will be a minimum loss of ₹30,000 per acre and it can go up to ₹60,000 per acre, says P. Srinivas Reddy, a farmer.

The situation is so bad that it has become difficult to pay the wages of labourers.

Timing it right

“To tide over the problem, the government should allow us to sell the produce in local markets. The situation would have been different had the wholesale flower market in Vijayawada been functioning. The market should function from 10 am or 11 am as plucking of flowers is done in the early hours and transported immediately,” opines Sambi Reddy, another farmer.

“This is really the first time that we are cutting the flowers only to dump them. The season is passing away without joy. If local markets are open, we will get to recover our costs,” adds Mr. Ram Mohan.

According to information, the farmers have grown, among others, chrysanthemums, jasmine, marigold, rose and tube rose, in 28,553 hectares in the state. The total production is estimated to be 5,68,397 tonnes. Of this, rose, cultivated in 715 hectares, accounts for 2,703 lakh numbers, say officials.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2020 9:31:23 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/flower-growers-down-in-the-dumps/article31391908.ece

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