As part of its successful organic veggie farming programme Jaiva Jeevitham, the CPI(M) has embarked on floriculture as well.
In the first phase, the initiative, launched by the party’s Women’s Association, seeks to cultivate flowers for picking for the Onam season. Titled Onathinu Oru Vatti Poovu (Basketful of flowers for Onam), the initiative has 116 women’s groups, each comprising no less than 10 members, pooling in ₹1,000 each for farming of flowering plants such as marigold and Vadamulla (bachelor’s button flower) across Ernakulam district.
“It is an idea that forms part of our green politics, which has come up in a big way with organic vegetable cultivation. Data shows Kerala’s temples under the Devaswom Board get flowers worth ₹80 to ₹90 crore a year. Tulsi (holy basil) is also brought from Tamil Nadu. But the fact is that jasmine or other flowers that women wear on their hair on celebratory occasions have huge quantities of pesticide residue that pollute the environment in air-conditioned auditoriums. It is in this backdrop that we thought of launching such an initiative and are making a beginning with this Onam season,” says party district secretary P. Rajeev.
CPI(M) State secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan inaugurated the farming the other day at Vazhakkulam and promised that the venture would be expanded to some 10 districts. Mr. Rajeev said while high-yield saplings had been brought form Bengaluru for farming, they would subsequently be developed and made available within the State. “We intend to start picking the flowers by August 22 and also on the cards is a plan for online sale of flowers and vegetables produced under the Jaiva Jeevitham programme. Besides, flower stalls will be set up alongside our regular organic vegetable outlets. With this, we have now taken another step towards self-sufficiency in food and lifestyle, by producing rice, vegetables, flowers, and fish,” he said.