Shankarapura(Pangala)Jasmine prices don’t smell so sweet


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Udupi: On Wednesday, when Mumbai witnessed 30,000 weddings on a single day, the fragrance that enveloped the marriage halls and the flowers that adorned the brides came from Shankarapura, a village in Udupi famed for its jasmine.

But the sweet smell comes with a not-so-sweet price. Owing to a packed marriage season and low output of jasmine, the price of the fragrant flower has skyrocketed. In just over a month, the cost of one ’atte’ of the ’Shankarpura Mallige’ has gone up from Rs 800 to Rs 1,000.

In local parlance, one atte of jasmine comprises four chendus. One chendu on an average has 800 buds of jasmine woven together. On Thursday, the price of one atte crossed Rs 1,000 in open market trading and this steep run is expected to continue for another week. Jasmine growers Manjunath P and Ramakrishna Sharma Bantakal say dwindling jasmine production coupled with high demand in marriage season has fuelled this hike.

 Against the peak summer production of over 1,000 ’atte’ of jasmine per day, the production now has dipped to less than a quarter of this. Hardly 100-125 attes reach the market every day, says Ramakrishna. This, the growers say, is due to the winter chill which is not conducive for the flower’s growth. With jasmine yield going through periodic highs and lows, predicting its price is always dicey, says Ramakrishna.

 But farmers are not complaining. "While the consumer is paying nearly Rs 1,000 and more per atte, the farmers are getting anywhere upwards of Rs 800," he says. Incidentally, it is not just the wedding season that fuelled this price rise. Price of one atte of jasmine was hovering around Rs 820 even during Navaratri and has since stayed steady, dashing the hopes of buyers who expected it to dip. Ramakrishna says that indiscriminate use of pesticides to boost yield has also contributed to the slide in production. "Farmers look at short-term benefits rather than long-term gains," he adds

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