Malur farmers shift to rose cultivation
Lack of water has not deterred the farmers in the taluk, who are learning to reap income from almost nothing.
Raghavendra of Yeshwanthapura is one such farmer. He grows hybrid roses in his field with minimal water resource.
Each rose plant can yield flower for five to six consecutive years. With the help of drip irrigation facility, he has been able to reap good yield.
Patches of rose is now a common sight in Lakkur, Kadadenahalli and villages in Kasba hobli.
“We need more water to grow vegetables but roses can produce good yield with less water,” says Narayanswami of Kadadvanahalli. He has grown in his three acres of land and it has been two years since he has pruned it.
Malur is the most arid taluk in Kolar District, and the excessive drawing of groundwater by farmers to grow vegetables is threatening the taluk with desertification.
The Central Ground Water Board has listed Malur is among the six “Over-exploited Blocks” in Karnataka, where groundwater exploitation exceeds recharging. The other blocks are Anekal, Bangalore (north), Hosakote, Devanahalli and Kolar.
The overexploitation of water has led the groundwater level to go down dangerously in the taluk. Existing borewells have dried up, and new borewells strike water, if at all, at 1,200 ft and below. Such water, excessively contaminated by nitrates and fluorides, is unfit for drinking.
With water availability reducing, farmers are now resorting to drip irrigation. In drip irrigation, irrigation in which the required quantity of water is supplied at low pressure to the root zone of each plant drop by drop by drippers / emitters through a network of pipes in order to conserve water and ensure that water is provided to plants without any waste..
Drip irrigation saves water by 50-70 per cent. Even low quality of water can be used and yields show increase by 15-50 per cent. The government provides capital subsidy on drip irrigation equipment enhanced up to 50 per cent.
“Once in a year very little amount of fertiliser is sprayed to check insects. However, we use organic powder as it helps flowers to bloom completely,” he added.
He transports the flowers to Chennai, Hosur, Vijayavada and Bangalore markets everyday. Each stick will cost from 75 paise to one rupee.
“We remove the lower petals after the roses are plucked and sell them to gulkand producers for Rs 40 a kg,” he said.
Pioneers such as Raghavendra and Narayanaswamy have inspired other farmers in the taluk who too have taken up rose cultivation in a big way.