Farmers who are involved in floriculture in Tiruvallur district claim that they are badly in need of a perfume industry in the district to enhance the demand for their products. They also seek the government to come forward with quality seeds and better subsidy on fertilizers to build the business.
While marigold varieties are usually grown between November and January, some other flowers like jasmine are usually available in abundance during the summer months. The bulk of these flowers are presently sold to temples for decorative purposes, besides retail markets and local vendors for domestic use in homes. The farmers even take bulk orders for weddings and special occasions. More than 200 farmers cultivate white and yellow marigolds, which are later exported to Chennai and to other districts.
According to local farmers, until a few years ago, flower merchants thronged Tiruvallur district to purchase wholesale flowers from farmers. “But now, the prices have come down after a lot of mediators have entered the business. A kilogram of marigold that was sold earlier for around Rs 100 has now come down to around Rs 20 -25,” says Navin Kumar, a floriculturist.
He claimed that the mediators who were purchasing the flowers for minimum cost, sold the same in other districts and even neighbouring states for a good price.
“Mediators formed a syndicate between themselves and fix up the rate while we, the farmers, are in deep trouble,” said Navin kumar a flower farmer.
A farmer from SVG Puram, Ethiraj said that the farmers who were cultivating the flowers were not benefitted as there was no local industry to process their produce.
The farmers engaged in floriculture in the district claim that the government should consider setting up perfume or related industries in the district to give a boost to the flower growers.
Tiruvallur district officials, when contacted, claimed that they are aware of the issues and are taking suitable measures.