Anthikkad’s tryst with marigold

Marigold flowers, cultivated by farmers with an eye on  Onam market, are in full bloom  at Anthikkad and Thannyam

Updated - September 02, 2022 08:02 am IST

Published - September 01, 2022 08:35 pm IST - THRISSUR 

Cultivation of marigold at Anthikkad.

Cultivation of marigold at Anthikkad. | Photo Credit: NAJEEB K.K.

Several acres at Anthikkad and Thannyam panchayats in Thrissur sport red and yellow hues. Colourful marigold flowers, cultivated by farmers with an eye on the Onam market, are in full bloom. 

Anthikkad’s tryst with marigolds is of recent origin. Former Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar, who has cultivated marigold on a few acres with two more farmers Shine and Jose, says that floriculture is a profitable sector for the State. 

“Marigold flowers in our fields are bigger and brighter than those procured from neighbouring States. We get around 30 kg of flowers daily, which fetch up to ₹60 a kg. We expect higher prices during the Onam season. We sell them in the local market,” says Mr. Sunil Kumar. 

“Floriculture and cultivation of exotic fruits are suitable for Kerala weather. Not only marigold, flowers such as heliconia and foliage that have high demand in foreign markets can be cultivated successfully in the State. We had tried sunflowers in our area before,” he says. In many kole fields in the district, people cultivate lotus after paddy cultivation. 

Since people have small holdings, forming a consortium to try out floriculture will be ideal, says Mr. Sunil Kumar.  

Farmers grow marigold even on the bunds of paddy fields. Bright marigold flowers attract pests. The cultivation of marigold should be planned in such a way that flowers bloom at the same time when paddy grains reach the milk stage. The pests that attack the paddy grains get lured to the marigold flowers. Marigold flowers are good bio-pest traps in this fashion, farmers say.

“We did not use any chemical fertilizers for marigold, instead used only cow dung and chicken manure. But untimely rain has played spoilsport,” says Shine Thomas, a farmer.

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