Lotus flowers grown in Malda district are all set to be exported to Bangladesh at good prices, a move that has brought about cheer among the farmers.
The flower is extensively cultivated this time of the year for the Durga Puja festival, while exporters have taken the initiative to send a “few of the flowers” to Bangladesh, even as they hope for a good profit. Farmers have already started storing the flowers in several cold storages across the district, it is learnt.
According to Ujjal Saha, the joint secretary of the Mahadipur Exporters’ Association and owner of cold storage at the Susthani More area in English Bazaar, farmers are sending lotus flowers for storage in the run-up to the Pujas.
“As 108 lotus flowers are required for a Durga Puja, and there is also a demand for lotus flowers for various pujas in the month of Ashwin and Kartik, lotus flowers in huge quantities have also already been exported from Orissa as well as other places. This time, lotus flowers have been produced extensively in Malda too.
Initiatives have been taken to export them to Bangladesh as well as several other states, including Assam, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh,” Mr Saha said. He added that some exporters from other states, and even Bangladesh, have expressed interest in buying the lotus flowers.
Lotus farmers like Pradeep Mandal and Shahjahan Ali of Kamalabari area in Jadupur1 gram panchayat in English Bazaar, said that there was some shortage of the flowers last year due to the Covid situation, but that due to favourable weather this year, lotus cultivation has been very good.
“In the past, lotus flowers were imported from Orissa to Malda, which went directly to the wholesalers. The puja committees had to buy the lotus flowers. It costs four and a half rupees to produce one piece of lotus flower, but now it is being sold at Rs 8 to 10 for 10 pieces. This year, lotus flowers will be supplied to various wholesalers. Moreover, this time many traders have contacted us about exporting the Malda flowers.
So I think, we can expect a good profit from the lotus flowers this year,” they said. According to the Horticulture Department, out of the 15 blocks in Malda district, the flower is cultivated in English Bazaar, Old Malda, Habibpur, Gazole, Chanchal, Harishchandrapur and Manikchak blocks. The farmers mainly cultivate lotus in abandoned water bodies, while some cultivate lotus by leasing other ponds and water bodies and some in their own ponds.
“This time, the cultivation of lotus flower has been very good. It is believed that the farmers will reap good benefits,” an official of the department said.