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Paddy Farmer in Pune Switches To Floriculture, Earns Lakhs Every Year

In Pune's Maval district, Mukund Thakar, a floriculturist, founded the Pawna Phul Utpadak Sangh, which helps farmers diversify their produce and profit in the lakhs.

Chintu Das
Mukund Thakar
Mukund Thakar

Mukund Thakar, a successful floriculturist, owns a two-acre polyhouse in Yelse village, Pawna Nagar, Maval, Pune. It was the birthplace of Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, who founded the ‘Mavale' army of local residents. It is important to mention that rose growers in this region earn roughly Rs 1 lakh per month.

Thakar, a farmer role model, founded the Pawna Phul Utpadak Sangh, a rose growers association (Pawna Flower Growers Union).“Mukund is a progressive farmer,” says Santaji Jadhav, a Panchayat Samiti member. His approach has created jobs for both men and women in the community and has halted migration.”

To create a rose hub  

For many years, the Thakar family made a living by cultivating paddy and sugarcane, as well as raising cattle, which was not particularly profitable and kept them in debt.

Thakar's academics were so difficult that he dropped out after the tenth grade.

He took a month-long training at the National Horticulture Centre in Talegaon when he was 23 years old. On a half-acre plot, he first built a polyhouse to do rose farming in polyhouse. His floriculture business has grown over the years, and it now spans 15 acres with leased plots. He credits his success to his family's unwavering support, as well as the banks who gave him with loans based on his good credit scores and hard work.

He continues by recalling how, over the course of two years, he visited the flower marketplaces in Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, and Bangalore on multiple occasions in order to have a better understanding of the market's demands and dynamics.

“After a year or two in floriculture, I realized that the demand for high-quality material outstripped what I could produce,” says the Best Farmer of the District Award laureate for 2018-2019.

Farmers in neighbouring farm plots sought Thakar for help diversifying after seeing his success, which led to the formation of Pawna Phul Utpadak Sangh (Pawna Flower Growers Union). The Sangh, which was founded in 2013, has has 13 members and grows roses on 40 acres. Fourteen more farmers are on the verge of joining as they finalise their loan and subsidy paperwork.

Commercial Floriculture

Commercial floriculture is a resource-intensive industry that requires significant capital.

A polyhouse spread across an acre, for example, costs roughly Rs 60 lakhs, with the National Horticulture Board subsidising 50% of the cost.

Then there are the costs of establishing a cool room, processing centres, and other such facilities.

The Sangh generates Rs 80,000 in daily revenue through its Sai Roses brand, with flowers reaching destinations like Jammu and Kashmir, Delhi, Kolkata, Guwahati, Hyderabad, Bangalore, and Ahmedabad, among others. “Every member has a job assigned to him, from production to packaging. They earn roughly Rs 1 lakh,” says Chandrakant Kalekar, a Botany graduate and Sangh member who grows Gerbera in addition to roses on his four-acre estate.

Floriculturists all throughout the world yearn to send their flowers to developed markets, particularly to Holland, Australia, and Japan. Since 2013, the Sangh has also been exporting flowers.

Thakar gives the following advice to rose growers - Water your rose plant once every two weeks with no more than 300ml of water; feed it 5 kilos of dried cow dung every six months; and use a pesticide (organic or chemical) in the ratio of 5ml per litre of water to prevent pest attack.

Also Read top 12 rose species in India.

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