Gandhiji's land of satyagrah turning hub of flower trade
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With farmers shifting to flower cultivation in a big way, East Champaran, from where Mahatama Gandhi tested the potential of satyagrah against British rule, is fast emerging as a hub of the flower trade.
According to an estimate the flower trade in the district, about 100 km from the state capital, is valued at Rs five crore annually at present.
More than 500 farmers, big and small, have left cultivation of paddy and sugarcane and shifted to cultivation of flowers.
Vast tracts of land in Motihari, Madhuban, Pakridayal and Chakia blocks could be seen blossoming with flowers.
Rajnigandha, Lilly and Chandramauli are the popular varieties of flowers grown here.
Lalbabu Chaurasia, owner of Ravi flowers centre and who is in the trade for last 32 years, told PTI that over 500 farmers of the district have shifted to flowers cultivation
and are reaping rich commercial gain.
Since the district is on border with Nepal, sending the flowers to international markets through Nepal earns a handsome profit.
Besides, flowers in bulk are sent to West Bengal, he said.
With flower trade gaining popularity, more than 25 shops selling flowers have come up in the heart of Motihari town which is popularly known as "Phool gaon" (flowers
Chaurasia said earlier the flower trade was marginal with some in neighbouring districts of Muzaffarpur, Sheohar and Gorakhpur.
"But, the trade has picked up in last 3-4 years making it a profitable business for hundreds of farmers," another farmer Sanjay Pandey said.
Shivendra Kumar, another farmer, said with the trade becoming profitable workers from neighbouring West Bengal were also flocking here to ean Rs 10,000-12,000 per month.
District Horticulture Officer Dharamvir Panday said the government was promoting cultivation of flowers by giving almost 90 per cent subsidy on cultivation of gladius.
The government has set up poly houses at four places in the district to train farmers in floriculture, he added.