Blooms that bring profit

Agriculture

Scent of success : Ravi also markets his flowers in stalls across the state.

At a time when most youngsters in  Bangalore look to get into the IT sector, here’s a youngster who thinks differently. Ravi lives in Madhura Nagar in Varthur hobli on the outskirts of Bangalore. Ravi, who has been cultivating flowers for a while now, is a progressive farmer. He has grown over 50 varieties of exotic flowers and has proven to be a successful role model for those who wish to take up floriculture.

Floriculture is a tough job, requiring a great deal of care and attention. However, it is better than growing vegetables and fetches handsome returns. At least that’s what Ravi has found out. Ravi, who has studied till his Pre-University, took to growing flowers immediately after. Hailing from a family of farmers, he gained his initial experience working with his father Muniswamy.

His father is an expert at growing fruits and vegetables, but has experienced losses too. Ravi took to growing flowers, armed with a knowledge of what can go wrong as well.

A nine-acre plot with red soil on the outskirts of Madhura Nagar  village belonging to Ravi’s family was not in use for a long time. This land was well-suited for floriculture. The eucalyptus trees that were growing here were cleared. Ravi then started to grow button rose, medium rose, asters and kanakambaras. He used organic manure and within six months, he was able to break even. Floriculture turned out to be more profitable than horticulture for Ravi.

Wide varieties of flowers

Enthused, he decided to grow more varieties of flowers on an eleven-acre plot near his house. Here, he started to grow white daze, blue daze, hybrid pink, carnations, gerberas, daisies and the golden rod varieties.

In summer, he started to face a water shortage. He constructed a small tank on one corner of his plot, where he conserved water. Eventually, he installed a borewell.
Typically, a flowering plant needs to be watered on alternate days.  But, if flowering plants are in a green house, it is enough if they are watered once in three days. Ravi now grows flowers on 20 acres of land. He has spent Rs ten lakh on this, but he recovered Rs 15 lakh in the matter of a single year.

Ravi, who has served as the Gram Panchayat president of Sorahunase in 2003-2004 is often approached by several farmers in the neighbourhood for advice on floriculture. The Tamil Nadu government offers a subsidy of 75 per cent for farmers who grow flowers.

The Karnataka government offers a subsidy of only 30 per cent. This has meant that many farmers from Bangalore and surrounding areas buy land in Tamil Nadu to grow flowers. Ravi says the State government should provide greater amenities for farmers taking to floriculture in the state.

Ravi has also taken up marketing of the flowers he grows. He has set up stalls in the name of Shri Meenakshi Flowers in Mangalore, Bangalore and Kochi in Kerala. He sells a wide variety of flowers through these stalls. He has also mastered the art of flower decoration for weddings and other events.

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