Outlook bright for golden marigold farmers

Growers expect a better price during Gowri-Ganesha fest

During this season, marigold has been grown in over 620 hectares of land and harvesting has already taken place in 340 hectares.

Paradoxically, while some farmers growing ragi, paddy and groundnut are still sowing seed due to inadequate rains during this kharif season, the marigold farmers are facing prosperity.

Marigold from Kolar has a demand in the neighbouring states of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.

Increasing demand for marigold is also due to the fact that it is increasingly used in the manufacture of natural due.

Flowers have been cultivated in the district for the last five years and the number of farmers cultivating flowers is growing year after year. In horticulture crops, marigold is emerging as an alternative to tomato.

As marigold fetches a better price than tomato, farmers are now engaged in laying flower gardens. A farmer can grow from 400 to 500 kgs of marigold in an acre of garden. Once a marigold is planted, a farmer can harvest flowers from 5 to 8 times. The attraction of cultivation of marigold for the farmers stems from its less cost of inputs and better yield.

During the Varamahalakshmi festival recently, the price of marigold was Rs 25 per kg and during the Gowri-Ganesha festival on August 31 and September 1, farmers hope that it will fetch them Rs 30 to Rs 35 per kg.

Unlike tomatoes, the risk in cultivating marigold is far less for the farmers. Against an expenditure of Rs 60,000 for cultivation of one acre of marigold, the farmers can earn an income of Rs 1.50 lakh which is more than twice the expenditure.

Last year marigold sold for Rs 5 to Rs 6 per kg, so there was no talk about making a profit out of cultivating marigold. However, this year prices rose to Rs 15 per kg and during the Varamahalakshmi festival this year, the price of marigold shot up to Rs 25 and a higher price is expected during Gowri-Ganesha festival.

Vijay Kumar, a marigold cultivator in Bethany village of Kolar, planted 8,000 saplings in one acre of land and using drip irrigation he has already harvested one round. He is ready for the second round of harvesting.

Each plant yields on a average 5 kgs of flowers. For one month, every week flowers can be plucked from each plant. Demand for marigold comes from various places in the neighbouring districts like Chennai, Guntur, Nellore, Vijayawada and Rajahmundry, says Vijay Kumar, who has been cultivating marigold for the last three years.

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