KOCHI: Favourable weather condition has the jasmine farmers expressing mixed emotion. Though they are happy to see the bushes drooping heavy with the blooms, the price the flowers are fetching in the market is making them feel dejected. From selling at Rs 5,000 per kg in the previous months, the prices have fallen to Rs 400 per kg.
According to florists, unlike other flowers, especially the cut flowers like carnations, gladiolus, roses, lilies etc, that have a market throughout the year, jasmine finds takers only during festival season. “The festival season ended with Vishu and with it, the sales have dipped. We will have to now wait for Onam to see a huge spurt in sales,” said Bijoy, a florist at Fashion Flower Mart, Pookkaramukku.
He said the flowers are also in demand during occasions like weddings, funerals or festivals. “Regular sale is not a thing in the case of jasmine,” said Gopan, a florist from Vyttila.
Bijoy said the price leapt to Rs 5,000 when cultivation in Tamil Nadu got hit due to a dip in production areas. “Now, we have a surplus but no takers,” he added.
However, customers said there is no uniformity in the prices. “Prices range from Rs 10 per cubit near North Town hall to Rs 50 per cubit at Thevara junction,” said Rema, a teacher.
Each florist has something or the other to blame for a drop in sales. For Arumughan, a 50-year-old florist, GST and demonetisation are the culprits.
“We have been selling flowers for the past 25 years. The sales were good till the government introduced GST. Due to the combined effect of GST and demonetisation, we have lost a lot of customers,” he said.
A florist near Paramara temple said there are different varieties of jasmine. “The varieties that are in demand are kudamulla, jaathimulla and Bangloremulla. The flower commands prices as per the size of the buds. Most customers prefer buds. So we have to bring in the flowers packed in ice boxes. But this affects the quality, such that second quality flowers circulate in the market,” said Shashi, a wholesale dealer of jasmine.
He said jasmine has a short 15-day blooming period. “This proves to be detrimental to the traders. They have to offload the stock quickly or else face huge loss,” he added.