A flowery trial with marigolds

A KVK team sets up marigold farms, inspires farmers to try growing the flower

June 18, 2022 07:24 pm | Updated 10:59 pm IST - KOLLAM

Marigold plants cultivated as part the on-farm trial by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Sadanandapuram.

Marigold plants cultivated as part the on-farm trial by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Sadanandapuram.

Normally procured in bulk from neighbouring Tamil Nadu, marigold is hardly a favourite of floriculturists in Kerala. But an on-farm trial carried out by Krishi Vigyan Kendra (KVK), Sadanandapuram, has opened up new prospects for farmers as the flowers have a huge demand during Onam and other festivals.

The research team had opted for three varieties developed by Indian Agricultural Research Institute that include Pusa Bahar, Pusa Basanti, and Pusa Narangi. “While the first two varieties yield yellow flowers, Pusa Narangi flowers are orange in colour. Through the trial we found that Pusa Bahar adapted well to our climatic conditions and the yield too was good. We have favourable conditions for cultivating marigold and it definitely has substantial market potential,” says Dr. V. Saroj Kumar of KVK who led the team.

Demand for marigold soars during two seasons and the farmers can start cultivation mainly targeting the Onam market. The flowers can be harvested 80 days after planting and the farmers can set up nurseries by the second week of May. After Onam, planting time can be adjusted as per Christmas and Sabarimala seasons. During winter, the quantity of flowers available from the neighbouring States will dip and the domestic growers are expected to get a fair price. The plants normally start flowering 45-60 days after transplanting and the yield will reach maximum after 80 days of planting. Harvest lasts around 80 to 120 days and if the flowers are large, 60 to 80 numbers will weigh one kg. A well-maintained marigold plant yields 500-600 gms of flowers and during Onam the price easily crosses Rs.100 per kg.

Depending on the size, colour and availability, the price can go up to Rs.500 at times. “If the weather is favourable, it’s a very profitable venture,” says Dr. M. Lekha, who was part of the team.

Marigold plants cultivated as part the on-farm trial by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Sadanandapuram.

Marigold plants cultivated as part the on-farm trial by Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Sadanandapuram.

After marigold farms set up by KVK in various places of the district including Chathannur, Ezhukone and Kottarakara yielded a promising harvest, many farmers are coming forward to try it. “The aim of the programme is to promote commercial cultivation of marigold in Kerala. Since pest and disease attacks were minimal during the trial, the crop is also suitable for homesteads and women groups. Of late, we are getting a lot of calls from farmers for the seedlings of Pusa Bahar. Since the market is seasonal, we advise them to wait for the right time,” she adds.

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