PUNE: Rose growers from Talegaon near Pune, the largest hub of rose cultivation in the country, are now waking up to the benefits of collective action. Last year, they decided to come together against the system of handing over their produce to traders and getting to know the price two months later. Now growers fix valentine flower prices daily and traders have to purchase them at this rate.
Talegaon, also an automobile hub with big brands like General Motors having a base here, is known as the largest area growing exportable roses in the country. The Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation has set up a floriculture park in Talegaon and the region sends millions of roses to the EU and Japan every year for the Valentine's day. Though the enterprising farmers here grew and exported the best of roses, when it came to selling their valentine flower in the domestic market, they were helpless as any other Indian farmer.
The rose growers had to hand their produce over to traders and would get to know the price only after the flowers were sold. They had to believe the auction rate the trader would tell them. But exactly a year ago, the farmers decided to change the system of marketing in their favour. They held a meeting of flower growers in the region and decided to fix the rate of the flowers they grew.
Now, top 2-3 rose companies in the region decide the rates on a daily basis and pass on the information to other growers through SMS. "We are selling flowers in Talegaon under this system. We did face some problems initially. But there is more demand for flowers in the market than supply. So traders had to accept the system," said Shivaji Bhegade, president, Pune District Floriculture Association.
This system is still restricted to Talegaon. Growers elsewhere are skeptical about uniting themselves. "It will need a high level of co-operation of all farmers for this system to succeed. But if does, it would be the best possible system of marketing for any grower," said Megha Borse, president, Maharashtra Floriculture Assocation and director, National Horticulture Board.
As compared to farmers elsewhere, Pune farmers are getting a higher price for their flowers.