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Plants in large swathes of fields with different varieties of flowers start wilting in heat

Flowers have shrunk in size, they are even more shrivelled by the time produce reaches nearest market, a farmer said

Kinsuk Basu | Published 21.04.24, 06:18 AM
The flower market in Howrah on Friday

The flower market in Howrah on Friday

Picture by Pradip Sanyal

The scorcher is threatening to singe flowers.

Over the past few days, flower cultivators in Nadia, East and West Midnapore have struggled to protect their plants from the heat.


Plants in large swathes of fields with different varieties of flowers have started wilting, the farmers said.

Parched lands mean more water and an additional expense in running shallow pumps.

Flowers have shrunk in size. They are even more shrivelled by the time the produce reaches the nearest market, a farmer said.

Sprinkling water has not helped, they said.

Petals of some varieties, one farmer in East Midnapore said, were developing
dark patches after being sprayed with water,

“Earlier, we would water the land once a week. Now every alternate day. Arranging for regular watering of the plants is a costly affair. But there’s no alternative. Flowers will dry up and the plants will wilt without water. Even after all this almost half the produce would shrink in volume by the time we reach the markets,” said Ganesh Maity from Panskura in East Midnapore, about 85km from Kolkata.

Flower cultivation is the mainstay of most villages in and around East Midnapore’s Panskura block — Dokanda, Haur, Paschim Kolla, Jakpur, Madpur and Radhamohanpur.

Bengal is a major flower-producing state of India and the districts leading the field are East Midnapore and Nadia along with a pocket of West Midnapore.

“Preserving flowers in this heat is a challenge. Spraying water sometimes leaves the petals with black marks and decorators shun them,” Maity said.

Hundreds of farmers like Maity from parts of East Midnapore, who have been cultivating flowers, including marigolds, chrysanthemums and goldenrod, have been forced to cut down on their supplies to other states.

The loss is very high because flowers and some buds are shrivelling up. And in such a situation, sending produce to the neighbouring states doesn’t pay, the farmers said.

“The heat wave has meant more losses in transportation and the farmers not getting their dues in the wholesale markets,” said Narayan Chandra Nayek, general secretary of the Sara Bangla Phool Chashi O Phool Byabsayee Samity.

“There is a shrinkage of close to 400gm per kilo of flower of any variety.”

Several flower cultivators from parts of Naida, East and West Midnapore and Howrah depend on the wholesale flower market in Kolkata.

Across the city’s markets, retail flower sellers said they had cut down on the daily buys because preserving unsold flowers was a challenge in this heat and household refrigerators were insufficient to keep flowers fresh.

“Flowers used for decoration, like roses and different varieties of jasmine, can’t be anything but fresh.... It has become a challenge executing orders for flower decorators now,” said Chiranjib Das, a flower decorator who operates out of the Mullick Ghat flower market in Howrah.

Last updated on 21.04.24, 06:19 AM

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