India: advocate switches to jasmine growing amid lockdown

During the COVID-19 lockdown, Mangaluru’s Kirana Devadiga began growing jasmine plants at home. Her passion for gardening has now turned her into an entrepreneur, earning her Rs 85,000 so far.

Kiran started growing the Udupi Jasmine, also known as Shankarpura Mallige, during the lockdown in March last year. While jasmine is grown in different parts of the country and is called by different names, the Udupi Mallige has an unparalleled fragrance.

Kirana says, “I have always had a secret desire to own a piece of land and cultivate it. Being a city-bred girl, that dream never materialized. However, the lockdown came as a boon because I started to spend more time thinking about my passion — agriculture and farming.”

When Kirana brought up this desire, her sisters and husband Mahesh laughed at her. “They asked me why I would want to spend my time growing flowers when people all around the world were struggling with COVID,” she says. Her husband also asked her what an advocate would do to become a farmer. But Kirana persisted and went about researching and finding out more about the plant.

With terrace space at her disposal, Kirana spent a lot of time online understanding how terrace gardening works. From there, the process was fairly simple, she says. “All you require is patience and a will to grow plants,” she says. It was Rajesh, the owner of Sahyadri Nursery in Mangaluru, who helped Kirana identify the plant she could grow. “He showed me hibiscus, which would be an easy plant to nurture, but I didn’t see an appeal in that. I wanted to grow something that would also augment my regular income, for which jasmine seemed to be just right.”

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