Harvesting Makhamali flowers for Tihar

Bhaktapur, Aug. 8: The farmers in Gundu of Bhaktapur have already started harvesting flowers and making garlands for Tihar. Makhamali flowers and garlands can be kept for a long time.

The Gundu area is booming as a hub of floriculture business as several kinds of flowers especially Globe Amaranth (Makhamali) flowers, are grown here. Demand for flowers is traditionally high during festivals, weddings and other occasions.

The Makhamali flower is in high demand, especially for Bhai Tika. Flowers have been cultivated as a cash crop in this area for the past 20 years.

After picking the blossomed flowers from the field, the farmers stored them in cold rooms to keep the flowers fresh for the occasion. Beginning with the month of Shrawan , locals of Gundu started picking the flowers; they pick up the flowers several times till the festival time.

Some farmers have planted flowers inside the maize field, as a concept of mixed farming. Each household here prepares at least 500 garlands which will be later supplied to the markets.

Ranjana Basnet, a successful farmer who professionally cultivates flowers in that area, said that she would earn Rs. 800,000 annually selling flowers after cutting all expenses. Basnet has been cultivating various types of local species, Godavari and African species marigolds and flowers that are sold throughout the year, including Makhamali.

Ambika Bhandari, chairperson of Small Farmers Agricultural Cooperative Limited (SFACL), said that SFACL has been supporting the farmers of this area for the last 3 years by providing marigold flower plants.

The municipality has provided Rs. 600,000 as a subsidy and prepared 55,000 plants of African marigold and it provided them to 310 farmers, said Rabindra Sapkota, ward chairperson of Suryavinayak Municipality-7.

The main market for all flowers produced in Gundu is Kathmandu. The garlands of Makhamali are also exported to Australia, Japan, Canada and other countries.

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