OTHERS

A valley of flowers

BLOOMING BUSINESS: A section of a marigold garden at Shringara Thota in Davangere district.

BLOOMING BUSINESS: A section of a marigold garden at Shringara Thota in Davangere district.  

H.S. Narasimha Kumar

DAVANGERE: The fragrance of jasmine pervades in this village, which is in the midst of flower gardens. Cultivation of jasmine and marigold is the avocation of all the 300-odd families living here. The village is aptly named "Shringara thota" (an embellished garden).

Flowers are grown on about 1,500 acres of land within the 12-km radius of the village. All the people in the village are involved in floriculture or related activity.

Villagers never speak a subject other than that of flowers, which are the lifeline for them.

Life starts early morning with hundreds of labourers going to the gardens to pluck flowers. Later, flowers are strung to make garlands. Wholesale dealers from Shimoga, Davangere, Mangalore, and Udupi buy the harvest every day.

According to the villagers, the yield per acre is about 30 quintals. The wholesale dealers give a price in the range of Rs. 10 and Rs. 15 a kg depending on the demand.

Pesticides constitute a bulk of the input cost. Labourers are paid Rs. 10 for plucking flowers and Rs. 10 for stringing them. The lack of storage facilities forces the growers to sell the produce at the price offered by the wholesale dealers. Sometimes they are shocked to know that flowers are sold at 20 times the price paid to them. And the Department of Horticulture has not done anything about this so far, the villagers say.

Almost all villagers have a small garden of flowers in the backyard of their houses.

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