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With Markets Shut During Lockdown, J&K's Marigold Farmers are Throwing Flowers in Canals

Many farmers who had quit the cultivation of rice-paddy to start farming marigold are facing deep losses amid coronavirus lockdown | Image credit: IANS

Many farmers who had quit the cultivation of rice-paddy to start farming marigold are facing deep losses amid coronavirus lockdown | Image credit: IANS

The farmers are now pinning hopes on the government to announce a farmer specific package to help them tide over the crisis.

It is the peak marigold flower harvesting season in Jammu and Kashmir, but instead of taking the yield of the cash crop to Jammu markets, farmers are wasting it by throwing it into canals.

Many farmers with small landholdings at R.S. Pura near Indo-Pak border in Jammu had turned to flower cultivation to reap more benefits rather than following the traditional wheat-paddy cycle, but a lockdown in the wake of coronavirus has resulted in losses for them.

"Some farmers took to marigold cultivation lately, but due to the lockdown has resulted in farmers wasting the rich flower yield," said Rohit a farmer at RS Pura. "All the mandis and markets have closed so we can't sell our flowers and are facing daily losses."

RS Pura is said to be the rice bowl of Jammu and Kashmir and is famous for basmati rice, but farmers who diversified for more gains are in a fix now.

The farmers are now pinning hopes on the government to announce a farmer specific package to help them tide over the crisis.

"Farmers have supported the lockdown call given by the government, but it is the duty of the government to think about farmers and to ensure that they don't lose their livelihood," said Jasbeer Chowdhury, a farmer.

Farmers say they need help even as the lockdown period has been extended.

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