Fluctuating prices worry 'Mallige' farmers

Auction centre proposed in Udupi, 5 other districts

Fluctuating prices worry 'Mallige' farmers

‘Mallige’ for sale.

The journey following the awe inspiring aroma of ‘Mallige’ is not as charming as it scents. The mallige farmers are the victims of countless difficulties right form the initial phase of farming to marketing of the flowers. The farmer has to undergo all sorts of problems during the framing process as the harvest demands utmost care for nurture. Further, the marketing problems pose a big nuisance to the farmers. The middlemen add up to their difficulties. Amidst all these problems, a Mallige farmer is the prey for fluctuations in the rates of flowers. Usually an ‘atte’ costs Rs 300 to Rs 350 during the peak period, ie, from March to May. A lot of marriages, rituals and ceremonies take place during these days.

Sarcastically this year, the rates have gone very low and one ‘atte’ costs less than Rs 60.
Speaking to Deccan Herald, Secretary of Mallige Belegarara Hitharakshana Vedike Andrew Lobo informed that the rates are entirely dependent on supply demand. The crop needs a humid temperature accompanied by bright sunlight. Consequently, the crop will have variations on everyday yields. Production will be very low if the temperature is high with dim sunlight, he said.

There were nearly thousands of marriages and other religious ceremonies in and around Udupi on ‘Akhshaya Trtiya’ day (May 16). As a result, there was an acute shortage in supply of these flowers and one ‘atte’ was sold out for Rs 300. The very next day, the scenario changed entirely, as the production was high and ceremonies were limited. In this back drop, the rates of one ‘atte’ came down to Rs 80. On Tuesday, Hindus never perform any auspicious ceremonies and the rates of jasmine flowers has come down to Rs 50 per atte. Accordingly, the production is high and demand for supply is low.

Auction centre

Assistant Director of District Horticulture Department Narendra Babu informed Deccan Herald that the plans to set up auction centre for jasmine flowers in Udupi district is in the initial stage. A proposal is being sent and the project is waiting for government’s approval. The blue print of the project is designed for an approximate cost of Rs 1 crore. “Once we get the approval, the land for the project will be purchased and subsequently the construction works will begin,” he said.

Udupi is one of the 6 districts where auction centres are proposed in the State. Other than jasmine, a variety of flowers will be marketed in the auction centre. Auction centre will also comprise cold storages aiding the freshness of the flowers that are left out.

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