THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Fragrance of jasmine has started to burn a hole in the pockets of Keralites as its price has touched Rs 3,000 per kg and it is expected to go over Rs 4,000 in the coming days if the northerly wind continues to bring chill and mist to the peaks of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
As expected, the drop in mercury is taking a toll on flowering of jasmine leading to shortage in the market. Jasmine that used to cost around Rs 400-500 per kg would see a rise in price during the winter season. Jasmine price had reached an all-time high of Rs 10,000 in markets a couple of years ago.
This year, florists are not anticipating an abrupt rise similar to the one witnessed in the past due to two reasons. First, this year, winter has been delayed by a few weeks and the mercury was hovering above the normal temperature in December. Second, traders had sought intervention of authorities last year after the price went through the roof. The peak season for jasmine in Kerala is November-March, which coincides with the wedding and festival seasons.
According to Suresh Kumar, florist in Chalai Market, a few days ago the retail price of jasmine had risen to around Rs 4,000, and it is now hovering around Rs 2,500-3000 per kg. But this year, the price will not see a drastic change as Makaram has already begun and the climate in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka would be normal by Kumbham (Mid-February).
Radhakrishnan Nair, president of the Thiruvananthapuram Florists’ Association, said though there were some small holdings of jasmine in different parts of the state, those are not sufficient to meet the demand. Thiruvananthapuram alone requires around 2-3 tonnes per day. Recently, the association had taken up the matter with the wholesale florists in TN to bring a price cap during peak season. However, the climate is acting as a price regulator in the case of jasmine, he said.
The change in weather also brought temperature down in Kerala as well, with Munnar registering zero degree Celsius recently. However, minimum temperature in Kerala is still above the average minimum temperature of the season, said Met officials. The minimum temperatures are likely to be near normal to below normal during the next week.