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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

As yield dips, no Valentine’s Day cheer for rose growers in Tamil Nadu

Rose exports to Persian Gulf countries, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia have halved after the yield fell 20% due to heavy dew.

india Updated: Feb 14, 2019 13:32 IST
MC Rajan and M Manikandan
MC Rajan and M Manikandan
Hindustan Times, Chennai
Roses for exports in Krishnagir district of Tamil Nadu.
Roses for exports in Krishnagir district of Tamil Nadu.(HT PHOTO)

A red rose remains the everlasting symbol of love, but in Australia, Singapore and Malaysia , Valentine’s Day may not be the same this time after rose farmers in the floriculture belt of Tamil Nadu’s Krishnagiri district say their exports have halved ahead of Valentine’s Day after the yield fell 20% due to heavy dew.

The semi-arid region of Krishnagiri accounts for bulk of rose exports for the Persian Gulf countries besides Australia, Singapore and Malaysia during the Valentine season.

Unlike in Pune which also is a major rose export region where farmers are raking it in due to the boom in Valentine season demand, the income for those in Krishnagiri is a bit subdued.

Despite the yield coming down substantially, increased market demand for exports as well the marriage season at home meant that the cultivators had not been affected badly, say farmers although the expectation of a bumper harvest has been belied.

Every year, rose is raised in this region under poly houses in over 607 hectares, providing employment to two lakh workers.

“This season, the export target was two crore stems (flowers). But, we could not meet the target due to the reduction in yield. This was due to heavy dew and the mercury falling down to 6 degree Celsius in the night during this winter. This had prolonged the time for the growth of the flower from the budding stage itself making it unavailable for the Valentine season,” said V Venkatachalam, president, District Horticulturists Federation.

“The Taj Mahal variety of the red rose from this part of the country has a huge demand in the export markets. And this alone accounted for 80 % of the exports this season. The rest was the Rhodos variety. We also export carnation flowers, though not in huge quantities,” he added.

“We pin our hopes on the export market rather than on the domestic market which used to supplement our produce. We are neither upbeat nor crestfallen since we have not suffered any huge loss. But the fact remains that we could not meet the export target,” said Bala Siva Prasad, District Rose Farmers’ Association.

Jasmine cultivation too has taken a hit and prices have skyrocketed. Export of jasmine, especially the ‘Madurai Malli’ variety, too had witnessed a drastic fall, say, cultivators. Jasmine is most sought after by women in the south due to its fragrance.

Madurai region which accounts for 4,000 hectares of Jasmine cultivation produces 15,000 tonnes of which a substantial quantity is exported. ‘Madurai Malli’, (Madurai Jasmine) has secured a Geographic Indication tag as well. It is exported to France and other European countries apart from Dubai and Singapore. Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh are the domestic markets for this fragrant flower.

According to A S Ramar, a jasmine cultivator from Thirumangalam near Madurai, pest attack and dew have damaged around two tonnes of jasmine buds in his two-acre land.

A V Manoharan, president, Madurai Flower Vendors Association, said the arrival of jasmine to the market had come down to half and was six tonnes which has pushed the price up to Rs.2,000 per kg. It used to cost Rs.600 to 800 per kg during the corresponding period last year.

First Published: Feb 13, 2019 22:47 IST