Progressive farmers in Mustikuntla prove floriculture can fetch good money
In their quest for sustainable income, a group of progressive farmers of Mustikuntla village in Bonakal mandal have not only earned a niche for themselves in floriculture but also proved the efficacy of flower cultivation as a profitable enterprise.
Once known as a hub of tobacco cultivation, the village has now transformed itself into a major centre of flower and vegetable cultivation in the district.
Thanks to the sustained efforts by a group of enterprising farmers, the village has earned a wide reputation for cultivation of kanakambralu (crossandra infundibuliformis) and Banthi (Marigold), besides vegetable cultivation in pandal mode.
“I have switched over to cultivation of kanakambralu as it offers assured income almost throughout the year,” says B. Nagachandrudu, a progressive farmer of Mustikuntla.
The demand for kanakambralu peaks during the festival seasons like Karthikamasam, Ganesh Navaratri and Bathukamma, he notes, adding that a kilogramme of kanakambralu fetches a whopping Rs. 1,000 during the peak festive season.
“The subsidy and the field exposure provided by the Horticulture Department helped me take up flower and vegetable cultivation successfully,” says Nagachandrudu, winner of the district-level best farmer award in the past. “Our visit to the Indian Institute of Horticultural Research in Bangalore and flower farms in Karnataka was highly enriching,” he recalls.
“Notwithstanding the initial hiccups, we had successfully surpassed them with the support of the Horticultural Department. The drip irrigation method came in handy for us in overcoming the dry spell last year,” he maintains.
Over a dozen farmers in the village have taken up cultivation of floriculture and horticulture crops in more than 40 acres in pursuit of sustainable income, says Mallikarjun, another farmer.
Several students of the Aswaraopeta-based Agricultural College have visited our village as part of their field study trips to observe scientific farming practices and water conservation methods in the past, he says, underlining the need for institutionalised marketing arrangement for the sale of their farm products.
The pragmatic approach and optimum utilisation of the subsidies as well as adoption of water conservation technologies by a group of farmers has brought laurels to Mustikuntla village, notes G. Marianna, Assistant Director-I, Horticulture Department, Khammam.