TAMIL NADU

Now a famine of jasmine

ill odour of scarcity: A roadside flower seller in Chennai.

ill odour of scarcity: A roadside flower seller in Chennai.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: M. Karunakaran

Deepa H Ramakrishnan

Wedding planners to be content with rose, “kaakkattan” flowers



Cold weather and mist are cited as reasons for poor yield

The prices of other flowers too have gone up



CHENNAI: Wedding planners in the city this month have had to manage with rose and “kaakkattan” flowers because jasmine flowers, which are the most sought after, are rarely available and costly.

Cold weather and mist are cited as reasons for the non-availability of flowers in the market. There is a reduction in the yield and therefore supply has been hit, say flower vendors in the city.

This has also pushed the prices of jasmine, which is available in minimal quantities, to an all time high.

On ‘muhurtham’ days, a kg of jasmine flowers cost Rs.1,000 and on other days it is priced at Rs.700 to Rs.800 a kg. This has led to local flower vendors selling one cubit length of jasmine flowers at Rs.20.

According to J.R. Manoharan, a member of the Chennai Koyambedu Wholesale Flower Sellers Association, “It is off-season as far as jasmine is concerned. The season starts only by the second week of February and the prices will come down after that. But till then the cost will be high. Jasmine flowers are being flown in from Madurai and Dindigul on a daily basis and that also might have added to the cost of the flowers.”

K. Shantha, a flower seller at Mylapore, said, “The flowers available in the market are very tiny and difficult to string. With the high cost and non-availability of good quality flowers, many customers do not buy these flowers for auspicious occasions.”

The prices of other flowers too have gone up. Even the ordinary Kaakkattan (thin white flowers that resemble mullai), which is normally priced at Rs.10 a packet, costs Rs.25 to Rs.30. Jaathi malli is available at Rs.150 for 300 grams (a ‘ser’).

No mechanism to fix price

K.Suresh, a wholesale flower seller, who deals in Jaathi malli, said “The fact that there is no mechanism to fix the cost of flowers is another reason for the increase in price. The demand for the flowers, the previous day’s price and the asking price determine the cost for the day.”

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