With an eye on value addition, flower cultivators in Sathy are reportedly exploring the possibility of starting a perfume factory in the town.
Over the years, farmers have been increasing the acreage under flower cultivation in Sathy area. Many are stated to have preferred flower cultivation to raising turmeric or banana crops since they would be able to generate revenue on a daily basis. Also, the subsidy offered for flower cultivation is an incentive to farmers.
During the initial months of the year, when the season is favourable for flower yield, the nearly 1,800 farmers harvest 15 to 20 tonnes a day. Under the banner of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Malar Urpathiyalargal Thalamai Sangam, the cultivators determine the prices, and the loads are procured by agents for transport to Mysuru, Bengaluru and Coimbatore. Through the unregulated market they run, the farmers are exporting flowers to Kuwait every day, official sources said.
Jasmine is mostly cultivated in Sathy region. According to official sources, jasmine (malli) is under cultivation in 810 hectares and tuberose (sampangi) in 279 hectares.
But, since the prices of and productivity of flowers fluctuate and are not remunerative all through the year, a perfume factory would help farmers to get better returns, Sangam president S.R. Muthusamy said. For instance, the price for jasmine now rules at Rs. 500 to Rs. 600 per kilogram, but the production has dropped to just one tenth. Excessive dampness has led to pest attack and drop in production, Mr. Muthusamy said.
The farmers intend to utilise the flowers for the proposed perfume factory when there is a glut in production and the prices are not remunerative. A delegation of the flower growers visited a scent factory near Munnar to study prospects for starting their own unit. The flower sector has been providing indirect employment to many in cultivation and transport processes, and the start of the factory will accelerate employment generation even further, Mr. Muthusamy hoped.
Their Sangam has proposed to buy two acres of land at a budget of around Rs. 50 lakh, and raise bank loan to start the unit.