Despite acute water shortage, Indian farmers grow roses

To the rest of the world, the rose is a symbol of love, beauty and courage. But to residents of Wadji village, located in Maharashtra’s Solapur district, it’s a representation of their success, despite living in one of the most drought-prone regions of the state. “Roses have made us lakhpatis,” says Kunlik Kumhar, one farmer from the village.

Solapur, which falls in a rain shadow region, faces severe rain shortages. As Kundlik explains, farming here is rife with challenges, and often, residents have to travel for miles to fetch water. Bachelors suffer because brides refuse to migrate to the water-scarce region. “Moreover, a majority of farmers would grow sugarcane, which is a water-intensive crop. Farming was tough as profits dwindled, and the number of crops was limited,” he tells.

But over the years, the tide has turned. For each acre of their rose farm, these farmers earn lakhs, and their products are sold far and wide across India. Kundlik narrates how the village farmers banded together to make this happen. The severe water crisis in their village forced Kundlik and other farmers to think of a different approach to farming. Around 20 farmers approached an official of the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), a state government scheme that aims to assist farmers in progressive agriculture.

“We brainstormed over the number of alternative crops that could be adopted. During one of the discussions, a farmer shared a case study of another farmer pursuing rose farming,” Kundlik says.

Read the complete article at www.thebetterindia.com.


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