Agartala: Gone are the days when flower vendors in the Northeastern state of Tripura used to look to Kolkata markets to procure the daily requirements of their consumers. Now, except for some rare species, flowers produced locally can fulfill the increasing demand of the state’s population.
A substantial part of this success story has to be attributed to the Laxmibil village of Bishalgarh sub-division in Sepahijala district. Over 250 families in this remote part of the country have taken to flower plantation as a source of their primary income. About 20 years after the first plantation was started on a trial basis, the results are there for everyone to see.
Ramesh Chandra Debnath (72) migrated to the state from the then East Pakistan with his parents and 50 other families and settled at Nath Para village in Laxmibil. Debnath was 15 years old then.
Twenty years ago, it was Debnath who decided to start a flower plantation on trial basis in a small area in their paddy field. Later, he realised that the income generated from the sale of flowers was higher than growing vegetables and rice.
Later, this village became one of the selected villages in the state to practise the large-scale plantation of flowers, procured by almost all flower markets across the state and in Kolkata in West Bengal.
The life of villagers here has changed ever since they took to this trade. In an average, every villager here earns more than Rs 20,000 every month by selling flowers.
Rakesh Dey, a Class X student of Pruba Laxmibil High School, says that he has grown up around this beautiful valley of flowers and his whole family is depended on the plantation of flower. “Whenever I get spare time from my educational life I run to the field of flowers and spend time with those beautiful flowers grown in my field,” he said.
He also added that the flowers growing in the field and the pleasant smell that comes from the flowers is very soothing and people in a large number from across the state have been coming here to see the beautiful valley of flowers. He also helps the visitors in understanding the process of how they take care of the plants and the process and time a plant takes to grow and start providing flowers.
“Usually, flower vendors procure flowers from the farmers. Considering the high demand on different occasions, the vendors have to do some advanced bookings. During festivals or marriage seasons, the demand is much higher than that of the supply,” Debnath added.
The flower farmers here mostly grows marigold flower which has the heavy demand in market. Apart from this, the villagers here also plant variety of flowers, including the seasonal ones.
Initially, the state government had offered flower farmers seeds, manures and all the required equipments. Since all the flower farmers here have become self- sufficient, the government has stopped providing any assistance to them.
Meanwhile, the villagers here have demanded the state government to appoint some horticulture specialists who can provide proper guidance to the flower farmers.
However, Jiban Lal Saha, assistant director, department of horticulture, said that the department has been arranging several events starting from sub-division to state-level flower exhibitions to motivate the flower farmers here.