This activity earns them an additional income as they are otherwise engaged in the regular, traditional agricultural activity. They cultivate these flowers in a part of their fields covering an area of half or three-fourth of an acre.
They find it an ideal crop compared to other commercial crops. This is among the most cultivated jasmine species - jasminum multiform (kakada), jasminum samabac (gundumalige), jasminum grandiflorum (jaji mallige) and jasminum auriculatum (soojimallige).
The products of jasmine are important natural raw materials in the perfume industry. Jasmine concentrate is the most common of the jasmine extract products. It is used in making perfumed hair oil.
The cultivation of kakada flowers involves levelling of the ground and planting at a distance of about 5 to 6 feet. Cow dung is used as manure and neem cakes are put in the pits and mixed with the soil. It takes about six months for the plants to yield flowers.
“Initially when the plants are small, it requires only one or two person to pluck the buds in an area of half an acre. But from the third year onwards the yield is more and plucking requires 10 to 12 persons”, says Somappa, a farmer from Singanahalli in Hosur hobli.
“If the plucking of buds is delayed by one day, the buds flower and the flowers have less price in the market. So the plucking of the buds has to be done between 8 am and 11 am”, he says. While some farmers get paid daily, others get paid once a month and in some cases some merchants pay the farmers in advance for the farmers.
Once in a year cow dung manure is used while fertilizers are used once in a month. Pesticides also have to be sprayed every now and then. The plants yield flowers up to 10 years. November and December is the peak period when the yield is 70 to 80 kgs of flowers for half an acre. There is fluctuation is prices.
“During festivals the price per kg goes as high as Rs 300, while at other times it is Rs 25 per kg.”, says Munivenkatappa. The farmers do not incur any loss due to the cultivation of kakada, he adds.