When K. Marimuthu decided to cultivate yellow marigold, a flower in demand for garland-making, instead of paddy in Mannargudi, situated in the Cauvery delta rice belt, other farmers warned that he was taking a risk.
“But I proved them wrong. I have harvested eight tonnes [of marigold] even though those who supplied the saplings predicted that the yield would be between three and five tonnes,” said Mr. Marimuthu, who has already started experimenting with cultivation of other flowers, including kozhikondai poo (hen’s horn flower), jasmine and sambanki (Magnolia champaca).
Garland-makers in Mannargudi regularly buy flowers from Thanjavur and Tiruchi. Mr. Marimuthu’s experiment fulfils local needs and the money needed for transportation is saved.
He also opted for drip irrigation and, in the process, saved about 80% of the water that would have been required for paddy cultivation. “The profit is also very high. I would have earned a maximum ?20,000 per acre [cultivating paddy]. Marigold has so far earned me ?1.5 lakh, after all the expenses, including labour, pesticides and fertilizers,” said Mr. Marimuthu, who buys saplings and manure from farmers in Hosur.
He planted 25-day-old plants and the yield began from the 60th day. Though marigold continues to yield for 120 days, he was able to extend flowering up to 145 days. “The only problem will be rain. We can save the saplings by giving them support, but flowers will not tolerate heavy rain. We will learn the art of floriculture through experiments,” he said, adding that a few farmers had already taken a cue from him and begun cultivating flowers.....Read more
Source web page: The hindu