Bhadarwah: After successful venturing into exotic lavender farming, which brought purple revolution in Bhadarwah, now it is the turn of marigold which is rapidly changing the fortunes of about 500 families.
With this, the farmers are not only flourishing but also making Prime Minister's dream of doubling farmers income true in real sense.
The purple revolution had helped around 1,000 families during Covid lockdown to earn their livelihood and providing others job during the pandemic .
500 families in Kellar Valley of Bhadarwah have switched from traditional maize and paddy to growing of different shades of yellow coloured marigold in a big way and are exporting at 200 quintals a day to the city of temples- Jammu since June this year.
The farmers are happy over their decision in the backdrop of ever increasing demand. This is because during the summers the supply from plains gets dried up from May to November due to hot weather. In the same period yellow flowers start blooming in the hills of Bhadarwah which has comparatively cold climatic conditions there by making to the demand.
The yellow coloured marigold flower is a key ingredient of all festivals of Hindu religion. Jammu being the city of temples with a footfall of hundreds of devotees every day, there is huge demand of the flower used in every pooja (worship).
The flower growers of Gajoth Panchayat in Kellar Valley who alone supply 100 quintals of marigold every day claimed that after switching to marigold farming their income has increased four times. They are happy over their decision as they are not only fulfilling PM's dream of Atmanirbhar Bharat but have also doubled their income well before the set deadline of 2022.
Earlier when the then CEO Bhadarwah Development Authority Talat Parvez Rohella, who now holds the charge of Commissioner Secretary, Hospitality and Protocol, introduced marigold in Kellar Valley, very few farmers showed interest to grow the crop owing to certain difficulties in cultivating it and the costs involved in it. But, Hind Bhushan, a progressive farmer from Gajoth village who is now member Kissan Advisory Board ventured into growing Marigold leaving traditional paddy and maize, has been now growing the flowers for last 14 years.
"We are thankful to Talat Parvez Rohella first CEO of BDA who motivated and encouraged us to switch to flower farming in 2007. He even introduced government’s subsidy scheme in our Panchayat and also took us to a tour of Kashmir valley to understand the nuances and benefits of growing flowers commercially. It is because of his farsightedness that today 500 families of Kellar Valley alone are growing marigold and as a result, we have become largest suppliers of marigold to Jammu and Punjab during summers and our income has increased four times," said Hind Bhushan Member Kissan Advisory Board.
The progressive farmers have also formed a cooperative so that they can manage hassle free supply of the flowers to the market according to the demand and without exploitation of the mediators.
"To reap in maximum benefits and to avoid the cut of middlemen, we have formed a cooperative and have also bought a load carrier of our own for timely and smooth supply of our yield to the Jammu Mandi," said Devinder Kotwal Sarpanch Gajoth Panchayat.
Womenfolk of Kellar Valley are a happier lot as they are reaping rich benefits and also finding it easy to work in marigold fields in comparison to that of maize or paddy fields.
"Things have changed for the good as new generation including my grand daughters happily work in marigold fields as they find it upmarket and a status symbol to grow flowers in comparison to maize and paddy. They proudly upload the videos and pictures of theirs while working in the flower fields. This is an encouraging sign and helpful as well," said Hardie (73) a farmer from village Khurwa.
The supply of the yellow flower from the hills starts from June upto Diwali festival in first week of November.