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From areca to floriculture

For farmer Sunil Kumar, a small out-of-the box idea is giving that little extra income everyone wants. He has taken to floriculture with not much extra investment. For the last seven years, Kumar has been cultivating a variety of ornamental flowers and decorative plants under the shadow of coconut and areca nut trees and the banana plantations in his farm at Doddegowdanakoppalu in Srirangapattana taluk of Mandya district.

Kumar earns Rs 3,00,000 a year from his floriculture venture and he says it is double the income from his main crops. He cultivates decorative plants like royal palm, akhila panoda, dwarf and long aralia, double duranta, croton, maranta, rasoolia, ficus panda and bamboo grass.

Flowers like hibiscus, lily, jasmine, Swati film and Bombay jasmine are grown in his nursery. Kumar gets the seeds for his alternative crops from Kolkata. Once the seeds sprout into saplings, they are filled into plastic bags containing rich soil and fertilisers. When the saplings of the decorative plants are two to three months old, they are ready for sale.

Kumar has a market for his decorative plants and flowers in Mysore. While some customers visit his farm, spread over 30 guntas, to purchase, he home-delivers for others.

Ganangur Nanjegowda
(Translated by C V Ramachandra)

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