Andhra Pradesh

Savouring the sweet smell of success

A girl collects firecracker flowers from an orchid of her family at Kothareddipalem village near Machilipatnam.

A girl collects firecracker flowers from an orchid of her family at Kothareddipalem village near Machilipatnam.   | Photo Credit: T_APPALANAIDU

For residents of two villages, ‘kanakambaram’ is a steady source of income

The cultivation of firecracker flower (kanakambaram) is lighting up the lives of a few hundred families in the villages of Kotha Reddipalem and Patha Reddipalem on the Machilipatnam coast. The flower belongs to the Acanthaceae family.

Bakka Venkateswaramma of Kotha Reddipalem says: “The cultivation of firecracker flower has been the only occupation for our family since long. I quit farming due to the age factor, but I continue to be associated with the post-harvesting activity, selling the flowers in the evening market in Machilipatnam.”

Favourable factors such as sandy soil and availability of groundwater encouraged the locals to go for the cultivation of the flower. Plants are imported from the Godavari districts. The plant, on an average, yields flowers for three years.

Kotha Reddipalem alone has 60-70 small landholdings in which over 100 families are engaged in the cultivation of the flower as well as marketing.

“The plant yields flowers round the year, except for a few weeks during the monsoon. The input cost is ₹10,000 to ₹15,000 per ten cents and the price per kilogram is between ₹200 and ₹800 depending on the demand, with an assured income of not less than ₹15,000 per month,” says Bakka Venkatarami Reddi, a grower.

Peak season

The flower is in great demand during summer as it coincides with the marriage season with the price touching ₹ 1,0000 per kg. Women from these two villages sell the flower in the market.

This patch of coastal villages also cultivates jasmine flower, which was introduced commercially in recent years.

Swathi Putta, a farmer, says: “Cultivation and sale of flowers is the sole activity of women in our village.”

Sensing the potential, residents of nearby villages have also started the cultivation of this flower.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 10:28:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/savouring-the-sweet-smell-of-success/article30814313.ece

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