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Receding ground water level worries marigold growers

Receding ground water level worries marigold growers
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Kuppam: The marigold flower growers, who were hopeful of higher market price this year, are worried about the availability of ground water. As the...

flowersKuppam: The marigold flower growers, who were hopeful of higher market price this year, are worried about the availability of ground water. As the ground water levels are falling, many farmers are opting for drip irrigation. The crop area shrunk one fourth when compared to previous year. The marigold flower crop is cultivated in four mandals � Santhipuram, Gudipalle, Ramakuppam and Kuppam. The crop area is about 200 acres, much less when compared to 750 acres in the previous year. Farmers were happy with last year's production and market price, but this year they are worried about power cuts as well as ground water depletion. Hanumanthu, farmer of Settipalli village in Gudipalli mandal, cultivating marigold crop, said that he is planning to transplant the seedlings after two weeks. "I did not show interest to this crop because of low market price, mere Rs 15 per kilogram, which won't bring profits to any farmer," he said. Power is supplied just for two hours a day in four or five shifts, further compounded the problems, he pointed. The ground water levels also fell from last year's 500 feet to 1000 feet, he replied. The total cultivation area would come down to just 200 acres this year, because of power problems and the depletion of ground water. "Instead of normal irrigation I had decided to go for drip irrigation. In this method number of plants per each acre would be limited to 7000. Price of each seedling at nursery is Rs 2 in additional to fertilisers and pesticides. This year the production cost may increase due the increase in labour charges. Last year I paid Rs. 80 per head in addition to providing one time meal for flower cutting work, but this year I will have to spend Rs 120 for the same work," he said. About 400 families are cultivating marigold crop in four mandals this year, he replied. Every month there will be six cuttings and the overall production per acre may be around seven tonnes. Farmers will sell their flowers at Kuppam flower market. The buyers and agents market these flowers in Chennai and Bangalore. Most of the farmers are cultivating 'Yellow Marigold' and few grow 'Gold' variety. The yield will be same for these two varieties. The present price in local market is about Rs 25 per kg and the retailers sell it for about Rs 55. Demand for these flowers is more in summer, festivals and marriage seasons. Two weeks ago the price was just Rs 15 per kg. If the water and fertilizers are provided as per the requirement, certainly farmers can earn profits, but there are no expectations this year, he explained.
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