A bed of roses, gerberas

A bed of roses, gerberas

The seven-acre farm of C Chandrashekhar, an industrialist and farmer in Sreenivasapura taluk of Mandya district, is home to many varieties of gerberas and roses. He has constructed a greenhouse on his farm to grow these flowers. His greenhouse is considered to be the biggest in the entire district.

Chandrashekhar always had an inclination towards agriculture, and when his friends suggested to him to try growing gerbera, he took up the suggestion right away.

He visited greenhouses within and outside Karnataka and gathered ample information on growing gerbera.
Six years ago, he started growing these flowers on the two-acre farm behind a hotel he owns. A year later, he built a greenhouse on his seven-acre farm in Sreenivasapura.

He has grown gerberas on a four-acre area of his farm, roses on two acres and is planning to grow carnations in the remaining one acre. Gerberas and roses require red soil to grow but it is black soil that is available on the farm. “So we got red soil from elsewhere and created a two-foot bed on the farm.

We have also installed drip irrigation and sprinklers to maintain the appropriate temperature for these plants,” says AS Sateesh, manager of the farm. Three months after it is planted, gerbera begins to flower.

Approximately, for every ten saplings of gerbera, one flower blooms every day. These saplings need to be re-planted after 30 months. Rose saplings flower once in three months and will do so for three to four years. Later they need to be re-planted, says Sateesh. Twelve types of gerberas and roses of six hues are grown in order to cater to the market. Nearly 6,000 gerbera and roses are sent to Bangalore every day.

Expenditure

The estimate cost for growing gerbera is around Rs 40 lakh per acre. “I have opted for a loan; also the National Horticultural Board has offered me a discount of 20 per cent,” says Chandrashekhar.

“We reaped a huge profit for the first three years; the recession, however, meant the export of these flowers has been affected. As a consequence, we have been incurring losses,” says Chandrashekhar. Measures need to be taken by the concerned authorities to strengthen the market, he adds.

Nearly 80 people work on Chandrashekhar’s farm. They pluck the flowers, pack them and take good care of the plants. “I feel a sense of contentment that I have been able to provide a source of livelihood for them,” he says.

(Translated by Bhumika Rajan)

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