Keonjhar: Instead of sitting idle or doing odd jobs after harvesting paddy, farmers in most parts of Keonjhar can take up floriculture as the conditions are conducive for it in the district. With the rise in demand for flowers, scores of farmers are keen to do floriculture, but lack of government support is a major problem for them.
Farmers said they see people buying flowers on a daily basis for various occasions. Many farmers have started growing flowers in their yards and farmland on their own efforts and are making some earnings from it. According to a report, the Kolkata market meets a major portion of the demand for flowers, which remains high throughout the year, in Keonjhar district. During winter the demand for flowers spirals due to marriages.
Some elderly people said, “Earlier, we used to get flowers for free. Now, they have to be purchased.”
The streets in the district headquarters town are thronged by flower traders (some of them being local farmers) and buyers. Most of the time, the supply falls short forcing people to stock flowers in refrigerators for use in festivals and other occasions. Parts of Sadar, Bansapal, Telkoi, Harichandanpur and Ghatagaon blocks are suitable for floriculture.
Teacher Bibhuprasad Senapati said if the government encourages flower cultivation, farmers would take it up on a large-scale and be able to meet the local demand. “We will then not depend on flowers supplied from Kolkata,” he added.
Narmada Nayak, a woman farmer who cultivates flowers in her farmland and backyards, said, “Marigold has good demand in the local market. We sell the flowers that we grow in our farmland. If we get government support, flower cultivation can be expanded.”
Lata Dhangda, another woman farmer, said, “More people will be keen to take up flower cultivation if they are encouraged.”
Karunakar Nayak of Badaposi area said, “There is a huge demand for flowers in the local market, but we fail to meet it.” PNN