Jasmine flowers dried in Vadakarapathy
Palakkad: The price of jasmine flowers has risen to Rs 2500 per kilogram but flowers are not available. The incessant frost in early morning has become a villain for jasmine farmers. Pest menace also increased due to climate change.
Jasmine is brought to Kerala mainly from Tamil Nadu. However, the plant is widely grown in the border village Vadakarapathy for many years. As jasmine grows well in hotter places, people choose this rain shadow place for cultivation.
Jasmine is preferred over other crops as it is more profitable. Jasmine plants start blooming within six months if they are given good care and fertilisers are applied at the right time.
As the flowers have high demand in all seasons, they fetch at least Rs 700 per kilogram. During Chingam month when more number of special occasions and weddings take place, the price rises to Rs 2500-5000.
Upto 200-250 grams of jasmine flowers can be collected from a single plant a day, said farmer K S Sheethal Kumar who cultivates jasmine on 6 acres of land. However, the availability reduced to mere 50 grams per day and less after the cold season started.
Jasmine is harvested on a daily basis. The yield declines considerably during November to January due to heavy frost. But this time, frost did not stop till February and the production was affected with this, said Praseetha Sheethal, a jasmine farmer.
Now jasmine buds dry up before blooming. The leaves are affected due to pest menace in winter time. Summer will intensify by March and the crisis is expected to end, the famers said.