Photo credit: IANS
Jamshedpur, July 3 (IANS) Priyanka Bhagat and Preeti Bhagat, two sisters from the Kalapathar village of Jadugoda, 40 km from Jamshedpur, have created a unique model for growing Gerbera flowers. Encouraged by their success, many farmers in half a dozen villages around Jamshedpur are now becoming self-sufficient in growing varieties of flowers, including gerbera.
It was during the Covid lockdown that Priyanka and Preeti came up with the idea. Their father, Navkishore Bhagat, a laborer at a factory in Jadugoda, lost his job and worries grew over how to feed the family. Priyanka and Preeti, who were studying in a school, tried to find freelance work opportunities on the Internet.
They came across the idea that Gerbera flowers are in great demand in cities and have a good advantage in commercial agriculture. The girls also found that flower growing is not practiced in Jharkhand. They shared the idea with their parents, who agreed to put their unused land to good use. However, to start farming, a capital of around Rs 1 lakh was required. The girls’ mother offered her jewelry as a mortgage. In addition to some savings, the initial capital was arranged and the family began growing Gerbera flowers on approximately 20 hectares of land.
Many people now come to see and understand the model of their agriculture. Preeti says the biggest challenge in floriculture is getting product to market at the right time. Gerbera cultivation offers protection against this risk to a large extent. The specialty of this flower is that after picking it can be kept fresh and safe for a long time. It is a flower of African origin, which is why it is also called ‘African Daisy’.
If its flower is kept in a bottle of water, it remains in the same state for about 15 days. Second, once her plant is planted, it begins to flower after three months and this process continues for three years. Farmers can pick flowers 10 times a month. The price of a Gerbera flower varies from Rs 15 to Rs 30 on the market. It is necessary to make a shade net for agriculture.
It has a high initial cost, but it worked in the long run. Gerbera flowers are in great demand at weddings or celebrations. “Now people know about this agriculture not only in Jamshedpur but also in many nearby towns. The advantage is that the orders have started coming to them from the market itself. They also take delivery themselves,” says Preeti. Priyanka-Preeti’s father Navkishore Bhagat is also very pleased with how far the girls have come.
He wants the two girls to choose their own path and make their careers. Younger daughter Preeti is a class 12 student and she wants to pursue her studies in agriculture, while elder sister Priyanka is a BA Part 1 student and she wants to continue her studies in law.
Madhuram Hansda, a resident of Gohla Panchayat under Musabani block of East Singhbhum, has also achieved good results in growing Gerbera flowers. He previously worked as Rozgar Sevak, but he quit his job and started floriculture. He obtained a shade net at a subsidized rate with the help of the Department of Horticulture. He grows Gerbera flowers throughout the year. Its flowers are also supplied to Bengal and Orissa, in addition to Jharkhand.
Similarly, Rajesh Mahto, a resident of Haludbani village of Hendal Judi Panchayat in Ghatshila block, grows flowers on his land. He grew Gerbera flowering plants by making polyhouses. Thanks to this, a certain normal temperature is obtained by the plants and a drip system is adopted for irrigation.