Though the fragrance of jasmine flowers pervades Shankarpura and its surrounding villages in Udupi district, the diseases afflicting the jasmine plants has taken the smile off the faces of the jasmine growers.
The jasmine grown in this region is much sought after not only in the State but also other States. It is called as Udupi Mallige or Shankarpura Mallige. The jasmine grown here also enjoys the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
As many as 800 jasmine buds go to make a “chendu”. And four “chendus” make an “atte”. Another specialty is that these flowers are tied by a plantain stalk. The price of these jasmine flowers varies depending on the demand and supply.
According to president of Jasmine Growers' Association Bantakal Ramakrishna Sharma, there were 10,000 jasmine growers in the district. Of them, 4,000 were in the Shankarpura and surrounding villages.
However, the diseases afflicting the jasmine plants have reduced the yield. Mr. Sharma grows jasmine plants in 25 cents of land. Five years ago, he used to get a yield of 40 chendus from his land, but now he gets only four.
Another grower, Sita Mulya, who cultivates jasmine in 15 cents of land, used to get 25 chendus of jasmine four years ago. But now it is down to four.
According to Andrew Lobo, farmer from Shankarpura, the continuous rains from June to October played havoc with the jasmine plants this year. He grew jasmine in 50 cents of land, but there had been no decline in the yield in his farm. “Most jasmine growers are small farmers growing it in less than 25 cents of land and they are suffering a lot”, he said. According to Mr. Sharma, fungal diseases such as leaf spot disease and sooty mould were weakening the stem and roots of the plants. “Since I follow organic farming, I have used biogas slurry, poultry manure, groundnut cake, farmyard manure to check the diseases but to no avail,” he said.
Programme Coordinator at the Krishi Vijnana Kendra (KVK), Brahmavar, affiliated to the University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore, B. Dhananjaya, said that besides diseases, insects such as thrips and white flies had also damaged the plants. Farmers were using mixtures of fungicides and insecticides, which was wrong.
“Instead they should use the correct chemicals. When they use a mixture of fungicides and insecticides, there are multiple reactions, adversely affecting the plants. We are holding training programmes for the farmers in the region”, he said.
GANESH PRABHU IN UDUPI
The jasmine grown in Shankarpura is much sought after not only in Karnataka but also in other StatesGANESH PRABHU IN UDUPI