India: Couples make beeline for marigold field in Cherthala

While several Malayalis these days have been making a beeline to the neighboring state of Tamil Nadu to see the sunflower fields in bloom, little do they know that a 35-year-old flower and vegetable farmer, Sujith Swaminikartil, too, has come up with a flower field, albeit, marigold in one acre leased land in Puthanambalam in Cherthala Kanjikuzhy grama panchayat.

Initially, Sujith, the state government’s award-winning farmer, was a tad bit disappointed that people were not coming to see his flower field. But now, during weekends, scores of people are visiting his flower fields after his relentless one-man campaign on social media.  

Sujith’s motto is “make hay while the sun shines,” which led him to woo the wedding photo market. This has seen young couples’ making a beeline to his three-colored marigold field posing for photographs for “save the date” photo shoots at Rs 199 per hour. Visitors are charged Rs 15 per ticket. 

When he got bored of it, he became a salesman at a leading gold jewelry shop in Kochi. Later, he realized that farming was his call and plunged into it after taking a loan of Rs 1 lakh from a nationalized bank. Now a decade later, his annual turnover has gone up by more than Rs 6 lakh. He is also into vegetable farming and has taken 10 cents land on lease near Alappuzha beach and another one acre near Arthunkal Church, which has marigold and Gomphrena Globosa (Vadamalli) cultivation in it.

“Tourists keep asking me what’s next. I wish to come up with some trending,” said Sujith, whose YouTube channel, ‘Variety Farmer,’ has a whopping 1.17 lakh followers. Sujith has ample support from his family, comprising his mother Leelamani, wife Anju, and daughter Karthika.

Read the complete article at www.newindianexpress.com.


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