Davana: Only demand but no profit

Davana: Only demand but no profit

Plant leaves and flowers are used in making perfumes, but its cultivation is no easy job

Namagondla Shankaranarayana, the only farmer who cultivates davana in Gudibande, explains the difficuties of growing the plant. dh photosReluctant farmers

But farmers in the taluk do not want to grow the crop anymore as it involves heavy expenditure, but the profit earned on selling the product does not reach the farmers.
In the past, ‘davana’ flowers were used during poojas, festivals, fairs, urus and other religious events. In later days, its flowers and leaves were used in the manufacture of cosmetics.  

Of late, the technology to extract oil from the ‘davana’ plant and seeds has been developed. At one point of time, one kg of ‘davana’ seeds was worth Rs 14,000.

Earlier, ‘davana’ seeds had to be brought from Salem in Tamil Nadu, says Shankaranarayana. But ‘davana’ is now being cultivated in Doddaballapur, Nandi Hills and surrounding areas.

This has helped the farmers in Gudibande get the seeds for the crop easily.

No confidence

The high cost involved in the cultivation of ‘davana’ has robbed the farmers of the confidence to grow the crop, says Shankaranarayana, a progressive farmer belonging to the family of Nyamagondlu Narayanappa, which has been into ‘davana’ cultivation for the past three generations.

Presently, only Shankaranarayana’s family has been into this occupation in the taluk.
Cultivating ‘davana’ on one acre, however, costs Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000, with no matching income.

Laborious

‘Davana’ cultivation takes a lot of labour, requiring the soil to be readied carefully. The soil must to be in the form of fine powder and the field must be partitioned in a manner facilitating easy flow of water to the plants. They grow in two to three months of sowing.
Also, there is not much demand for ‘davana’ other than during fairs and festivals.

The crop calendar for ‘davana’ earlier used to be framed keeping in mind the community fairs as well as festivals in pilgrimage centres like Yelodu, Gadidam, Ghati, Nagalamadike, Chitravathi, Vidurashwatha and Nandi Hills. Vast quantities of the ‘davana’ leaves and flowers used to be sold at these places.

Changed system

Earlier, there were no separate markets for ‘davana’ and had to be sold only during the fairs, which were held for days together.

But things have changed lately and the ‘davana’ crops are bought in no time by middlemen. These days, the demand for ‘davana’ is much only in Bangalore and farmers will incur transportation expenses to sell the crop in Bangalore.

If one has to sell ‘davana’ in places where they are grown, it has to be only through the middlemen, who buy the crops at throwaway rates.

Either way, it is not very profitable for the farmers. Hence, farmers are turning away from ‘davana’ and taking to other crops.

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