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Farmers’ new idea: arranging flowers to brighten their lives

Till now Aruna Shelke has been packing fresh vegetables and making around Rs 150 a day.

Till now Aruna Shelke has been packing fresh vegetables and making around Rs 150 a day. Soon she will start decorating the premises of IT companies in Hinjewadi and earn thrice as much. For many women like Shelke,this is a way to augment their daily wages. If they earned between Rs 60 and Rs 100 a day,flower decoration would get them an additional Rs 250-Rs 300 a day.

“We have been learning to make various flower arrangements over the last three months,” Shelke said. “I participated in a training programme for flower decoration few months ago,and it is coming in handy. We have been making bouquets and other flower arrangements for office premises,” she said. Many companies require fresh flowers to adorn the lobbies or select corners within their premises,several want flower arrangements on employee tables.

Shelke,who heads a women’s SHG group,is part of a farmers collective – Abhinav Farmers Club – that operates out of Hinjewadi. This club recently won a contract to decorate six IT companies with flowers on alternate days — through an arrangement with the Canara Bank. Farmers say that the potential is much more as the region has more than 240 IT companies,retail outlets,malls,hotels,banks,hospitals etc as well where such fresh flower arrangements are in demand.

“We conducted a survey amongst these companies and many companies expressed interest,” said Yogita Gawas,who heads the marketing activities for the club. For farmers,this is far more lucrative than selling flowers at the mandi. Flowers like carnations sell at a higher rate – at Rs 150 for a bunch of 20 flowers. But the other flowers would earn them around Rs 3 per piece.

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“But if we add value and use flowers for decoration,we will earn several times more. The profit margin in selling bouquets or arranging flowers is at least 50 per cent,” said Dyaneshwar Bodke of Abhinav Farmers Club.

“As a result we are able to give more money to the likes of Shelke who work with us. Many of them otherwise work as labourers in other farms and earn around Rs 60- 100 per day,” he said.

Farmers attached with this club say they harvest close to 40,000 flowers each day. They grow carnations,gerberas,and roses,some foliage for the bouquets while purchasing orchids and anthuriums from the market when required.

First published on: 17-11-2009 at 05:22:05 am
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