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Flowers? Out of reach this festive season

Express News Service

MYSURU: This festival season, the flowers, which are essential for puja and decorations, seem to be out of the reach of consumers. The price of the fragrant Mysuru Mallige (jasmine) and other flowers have gone up four to five times. The sky-rocketing prices are worrying both the consumers and the vendors. 

Buyers crowd around a jasmine vendor
at a market in Mysuru on Sunday. The
price of the flower has hit a high in
recent days | Udayshankar S

Jasmine which was sold at Rs 250 per kg is now a prohibitive Rs 1,500. The price of Kanakambara has jumped four times — from Rs 200 per kg last week to Rs 800 on Sunday. Rose too which was sold at Rs 20 per kg is now Rs 240.

And the gloomy news is that the prices are expected to further shoot up on Ayudha Puja and Vijayadashami when the demand will outstrip supply.

Marigold and chrysanthemum are in great demand too on Ayudha Puja. These flowers, grown extensively in Panadavapura, KR Pet, Nagamanagala and Malvalli, are also destroyed by heavy rains and the resultant waterlogging in the fields.

The farmers are not benefiting either. In fact, during April and May, every day, desperate flower farmers plucked around 60 lakh flowers and threw them away.

This was because they had no takers due to the strict nationwide containment measures amid the coronavirus pandemic. Today, the farmers are in a similar situation as the rains have destroyed the crop. 

Heavy rain in parts of Karnataka affects flower supply

Shivananjappa, a farmer, said that they had expected a bumper yield and also good prices during the Navaratri this week and the coming Deepavali festival. But the rain has not only flattened the plants but have also hit the plucking of flowers in some places.

Gajendra, another flower grower, said that they could not send spatika or jasmine to meet the demand in Tirupati or the temples in Dakshina Kannada as the widespread rain has damaged the  flower plants leaving them in the lurch. He said that prices will further go up if there is rain in the next couple of days.

Mysuru market, which normally receives around 1,000 kg jasmines a day, is getting less than 300kg, leading to the steep rise in the price. The market gets flowers from T Narsipur, Heggadevana Kote, parts of Mysuru taluk and KR Pet in Mandya and Sathyamangalam in Erode district (Tamil Nadu).

But the heavy rains in the old Mysuru region and in parts of neighbouring Tamil Nadu, resulted in the drastic reduction in the supply as harvesting has been affected. Sometimes flower merchants create artificial scarcity to push Ooty jasmine which has a better shelf life, say growers.

But with non-stop rains in Ooty and Nilgiris, the export of Ooty jasmine  to Mysuru and Bengaluru markets has been hit. Amid this withering of hopes, there are reports that many farmers growing  flowers have switched over to short-term horticulture crops like  brinjal, tomato and other vegetables. 
 

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