Flower prices shoot up in Kerala as Onam fest nears

PTI Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on September 06, 2011

Costly commodity: Flower vendors at Thekinkadu Maidan in Thrissur, Kerala. — K.K. Mustafah

With Kerala's most colourful festival Thiruvonam just a couple of days away, prices of flowers for decorating homes with floral carpeting, an age-old custom of Malayalis to welcome their mythical King Mahabali, has shot up manifold.

These days, Kerala relies mostly on neighbouring states such as Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh for supply of truckloads of flowers to meet the festival demand.

Colourful flowers such as gomphrena (‘Vadamalli' in local parlance), crossandra (Kanakambaram), marigold (samanthi) and chrysanthemum (arali) are on high demand during the season.

Local flower merchants bring the flowers from towns such as Thovala in Kanyakumari district in Tamil Nadu and Gundalpet in Karnataka, where flowers are cultivated on a commercial scale.

According to market sources, flower prices have been going up every year as demand keeps increasing.

‘Vadamalli' and ‘samanthi' (red and orange coloured) are the costliest this season, said a wholesale floral merchant in the city.

“One kg of white ‘samanthi' costs Rs 250 today. Price of ‘vadamalli' costs up to Rs 801 on some days. Yellow ‘samanthi' fetches Rs 120 a kg; its orange variety costs Rs 100 a kg today,” he said.

Thovala in Tamil Nadu, known as the floral bowl, is the main source of flowers in South Kerala, he said.

“But flowers like rose and white samanthi mainly come from Bangalore. They are comparatively costlier than those coming from Thovala,” he added.

The on-going Ganeshotsav in north India has also led to an increase in prices of flowers, he added.

Local varieties of flowers are now very hard to come by as most land has been converted to fragmented housing plots or real estate property and paddy fields have practically vanished. This has forced people to depend on the market for flowers.

Published on September 06, 2011

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