Marigold Farming: Women Financially Empowered

By Tripati Khura

Marigold is one of the most significant flowers which grown worldwide, it is also known as good commercial flowers. There are various opportunities for an entrepreneur who adopts marigold farming as a means of livelihood. Government also extends subsidy loan to start the cultivation as it has recognized this profitable entrepreneurship opportunity. In recent decades there has been a rapid growth in the demand of marigold cultivation with increasing income. Keeping this in view, more farmers are coming forward to take up marigold farming for commercial purposes.

Marigold can grow successfully in a variety of soils. The soil must be well-drained, well aerated, deep, fertile and should have good water holding capacity. The right soil for marigold flower is sandy loam, which is very fertile. Plantation of marigold flower can be done in three seasons that is rainy, winter and summer and seeds are sown accordingly. Hence, marigold flowers can be availed in market throughout the year. Marigold requires nitrogen, phosphorous and potash. Plucking the flower at an appropriate stage is most essential to keep the flower fresh for a longer period of time. Post plucking the flowers should be stored in a cold well-ventilated place to preserve it for a longer duration.

The female labour force in agriculture sector of rural India is still very low although government has introduced various schemes for empowering women. The causes of the unemployment of rural women are illiteracy, family restriction, exclusion from access to land and other resources; simultaneously they are responsible for household routines including child rearing, care for the elders of the family and so on. Consequently, the rural women remain most vulnerable and poor in the society. Despite all these obstacles, tribal women are increasingly engaging in agriculture work and contributing to the local household economy.

 

Pictures: Marigold Farming

Generally, tribal women have more crucial role in agriculture work such as soil preparation, plantation, harvesting and storage etc. The marigold farming gives the impoverished tribal farmers, especially women, a tremendous opportunity to improve their income. Marigold is not only eco-friendly but also women-friendly as it can be grow easily within a short period and it gives assured income to the farmers. As far as demand is concerned, it is extensively used by the local people in religious offering, marriage ceremony and other floral decoration.

Productive employment and decent work in a developing country is the way out of poverty for both men and women. The state has introduced various legal measures which ensure equal rights, equal remuneration, and women participation in income generation activities by addressing the constraints faced by women; but still they are deprived. To overcome these difficulties, the women from Umuri village of Koraput district are nurturing marigold flowers in their cultivable lands. This has enhanced their financial standing because they can earn decent from marigold cultivation and increase their income levels. Furthermore, they are not employed workers to pluck the flowers, the women themselves maintain the land to reduce expenses and they also do their household chores in parallel.

Marigold farming has become a profitable business for the women of Umuri village as it provide a good monthly turnover of Rs. 2000 to 2500 without requiring a lot of time so women are free to spend a large amount of time on household obligation. It has not only enhanced the livelihood of the rural women but also local ecology of the indigenous tribal villages. Hence, the marigold flower cultivation plays a crucial role in alleviating poverty and making women financially self-sufficient. It has a fruitful impact on the society as it enables them to get equal rights in all spheres of life, inclusion in the process of economic development, participation in decision-making and food security.

Marketing of marigold flowers is not at all a challenge for the rural women due to constant demand in the nearby markets. During marriage and festival season traders go to village and procure flowers from women directly. Primarily, women were growing flowers for household worship purpose but gradually it has converted into a business.

Consequently, the women of the village have become financially empowered with the help of marigold farming and it has become main source of income for them. They’ve become role model for their village and for the the women from surrounding areas. A progressive women marigold farmer Nila Mali stated “it is a blessing for all the women who are getting livelihood from the marigold cultivation. Marigold is the main source of income and we depend upon it for our livelihood. We are growing marigold flowers round the year and getting a tremendous income.”

About the Author: Tripati Khura is a development professional and social worker. He has been working for the sustainable development of the tribal people in Odisha. Especially on the issues of women empowerment, forest conservation, child rights, education, health and good governance.

 

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