DHARMAPURI: The plummeting price of marigold has left farmers a distressed lot. While they were expecting to sell their produce for Rs 70 per kilogram, traders are willing to pay no more than Rs 30 per kilogram, leaving the livelihood of scores of farmers in peril.
Varieties of flowers such as rose, jasmine as well as marigold are cultivated in over 2,000 acres across the district.
The district administration has also been taking several steps to promote floriculture.
However, these efforts have contributed little to allay the fears of the marigold farmers amid the dwindling price of their produce.
R Thiyagarajan, who had cultivated marigold in about two acres of land in Sekkarapatti in Thoppur Panchayat, rued that it has failed to yield satisfactory returns.
“The marigold crops, which are cultivated in the month of June, become ready for harvest between October and January. While they used to fetch Rs 70 per kilogram, the current market price is only Rs 30 per kilogram,” he said.
“So far, I have spent more than Rs 1 lakh on marigold cultivation this year and I am having to spend at least Rs 5,000 per week on fertilizers, pesticides and remuneration of workers. However, the procurement price is grossly inadequate to meet the production cost,” he rued.
Govindan, another farmer, blamed the middlemen for the pricing woes of marigold.
“They would procure marigold for Rs 30, but later sell it for Rs 100. The selling price reaches as high as Rs 200 during festive seasons,” he said.
He suggested that the district administration to take steps to form a ‘flower farmers’ cooperative society’ and establish a small-scale industry dedicated to their value-added products.