JHARKHAND: Small farmer Rinku Devi is from Sheela village under Simaria Block of Chatra. She grew tomatoes and cauliflower and never got a good harvest. For the last two years, she has been cultivating marigold in about an acre of land. Her income has increased manifold.
Thanks to the initiative taken by the State Rural Development Department, which has been promoting women living in remote areas of Jharkhand for marigold cultivation by providing saplings and other support required for it, making them self-dependent.
Farmers who were earlier involved in traditional farming with minimal profit, have started taking up marigold cultivation, drawing nearly 1.5 lakh profit per acre every year in Jharkhand.
SHGs with the support of Aajeevika Krishak Sakhi and nurtured by JSLPS have started creating awareness, community mobilization and associating with marigold cultivation with support from like-minded Mahila Kissan and field teams. The overall sale in the financial year 2020-21 remained nearly Rs 2.03 crore; almost double than the previous year.
"I have been cultivating marigolds for three years. Earlier, we grew tomatoes and cauliflower that required more investment. But they never gave good harvest and we ran losses as the plants would die very often," said Rinku Devi.
She added that moreover, traditional farming required more pesticides and fertilizers resulting in either no profit or huge losses at the end of the season. "Marigold cultivation is profitable as it requires less investment and gives better harvest with a lot of profit. It also does not require any hard work between plantation and harvesting," said Rinku Devi.
Initially, she planted marigold in 10 decimal of land and sold it for Rs 50 per kg and then planted in 25 decimal of land the next year. "I expect to get at least Rs 25,000 this year from marigold cultivation on 25 decimal of land. With traditional farming, I did not earn even 10 per cent of it or suffered losses due to adverse weather conditions and several other reasons," said Rinku Devi. People have planted marigold in more than 9 acres of land in Simaria Block only and are making good money, she added.
Another woman Gazala Parveen (27), hailing from Govindpur under Karra Block in Khunti, said that marigold cultivation is better than any other farming as it is quite profitable and does not require any pesticide or fertilizers. There is no problem with the market as well, she said.
"Marigold has a good market in Jharkhand. The first harvest was so encouraging that farmers were not able to decide whom to sell the produce to as they were approached by so many people. They were not even able to meet the requirement," said Gazala Parveen.
Initially, they laughed when told about marigold cultivation saying how one could get profit from cultivating flowers they had never seen before, she added. "We did it on a trial basis last year, but in the first very first year it gave very good returns, therefore, we have decided to plant marigold at a larger scale so that more profit could be obtained," said Gazala.
Official statistics suggest more than 700 SHG members in seven districts are involved in marigold cultivation in almost 175 acres of land. Though there was a nominal increase in the number of farmers compared to last year, the area under cultivation has increased significantly this year.
"The SHG women from rural areas of Jharkhand are connected to several livelihood interventions through JSLPS. In this view, a new initiative of marigold cultivation has been introduced as a strengthening pillar of women’s empowerment in rural areas. Through this initiative, women are assured of instant income and are provided with e-commerce platforms for sale of their produce in a short time," said JSLPS CEO Nancy Sahay.