India: Bleak monsoon hurts floriculture in West Bengal

While many states in India are battling floods, West Bengal is facing a problem absolutely obverse: Insufficient rainfall has affected agriculture, especially flower production.

Everybody in the chain — be it growers, sellers or exporters — are facing losses as, according to the India Meteorological Department, the state experienced a rainfall deficit of 30 per cent between June 1 and August 12, 2019.

“Many of my flower-bearing plants have died. I am facing losses this monsoon owing to low production,” said Arun Nashkar, a farmer in Bhangar of South 24 Parganas district, who cultivates marigold and tuberose.

Nashkar would produce 1,000 bundles of tuberose and 1,000 quintal of marigold during a normal monsoon. This year, by the second week of August, he managed only 500 bundles and two quintals respectively.

Floriculture is crucial for Bengal. The state has 29,000 hectares of land dedicated to flower farming, according to the data provided by West Bengal State Food Processing & Horticulture Development Corp Ltd. It produces around 77,246 metric tonne (MT) of loose flowers and 28,973 MT of cut flowers.

Read more at DownToEarth (Sudarshana Chakraborty)

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