Flower cultivation is a prime source of daily assured income for farmers. Flowers are widely used in Decoration, Pooja and medicines also. Hibiscus is one such flower which is widely used in siddha medicines and Austin Krupakaran is one such farmer who has been successfully earning super normal profit from hibiscus cultivation. Despite he completed M.E.in communication, Krupakaran did not opt for a job in IT industry; rather, he is engaging himself in agriculture, that too, in organic farming practice of hibiscus flower.
His other interests are teaching and training people on keyboard, violin, guitar, piano in his institution of Music Academy. He got a special interest in organic farming following the demise of his father in 2012 which was due to unhealthy and improper food habits.
Pasumai Vikatan – the Torch Bearer:-
December 2013 issue of Pasumai Vikatan carried an article on hibiscus cultivation and the value of the same in curing heart disease. Having been reminded of his father’s death due to the same reason, he was more deeply interested in understanding the importance of the same. Hence, he left for Kayamozhi village to meet Ibrahim in person and gathered all relevant points in regard to hibiscus cultivation and harvest.
Hibiscus – commercial practice:-
Krupakaran has allotted one full acre out of his total possession of 10 acres for hibiscus. Since his land is predominantly a mixture of red soil and clay, hibiscus grows in plenty. On an average, he is getting 10 kg. of flowers every day. Initially, he was sending the flowers after drying it to Coimbatore. He heard from his friend in China that it was being used for making juice and also from Bangalore that it was used for making tea. Based on this input, he started making powder out of it. However, as the sales was little down as powder, he started marketing the same as flower also in the town of Thirunelveli. His customers are not only general consumers but also siddha medical practitioners. When he sells it as powder his profit is comparatively more.
Krupakaran’s presentation of Income & Expenditure statement:-
He is able to get 4 kg. dried flowers out of 10 kg. and accordingly, he will get 120 kg. dried flowers per month. Out of this, he uses 30 kg. for powder. For every kilo of dried flower he gets 800 gm powder. while powdering. Thus he will be able to get 24 kg. powder which he sells at Rs.1,000/- per kilogram.
Again, he is able to sell the dried flowers @ Rs.320/- per kg. When he sells 90 kg., he is able to get a total income of Rs.28,800/-. On the whole, he will be able to get Rs.52,800/- per month. Therefore, he is trying his best to increase the sale of powder.
Austin Krupakaran finally declares that there is no second thought in regard to getting substantial profit from hibiscus cultivation. He says that he will be in a position to get flowers only for nine months in a year. During last year, he got around Rs.4,75,200/- from which if we deduct the total expenditure incurred to the tune of Rs.94,800/-,he got a net income of Rs.3,80,400/-.
Guidelines on hibiscus cultivation under organic farming practice, as given by Krupakaran:- (on the assumption that the cultivable land is one acre)
Tamil months of Ani or Adi are most suitable for hibiscus
The cultivable land should be ploughed firmly with the help of tractor and allowed to dry for two days
Ploughing through rotavator is to be done; 1 cubic ft.pit with 6 ft. distance in between should be created
1,200 pits can be created in an acre
After this, drip irrigation channels are to be structured
1 kg.cow dung should be poured in each pit and allowed to dry for a week
Sowing of plants can be done in each pit and covered with top soil, followed by irrigation
The plants can preferably be 1 ½ months old and 200 plants are required to be bought at one shot
After sowing, the plants which are not healthy should be removed and replaced by good ones
On the 10th day, the sand covering should be done
Irrigation is to be ensured so that the sand is always wet
Limited nutrients are enough
From the second month, 200 lt.amudhakarasal should be mixed with water and irrigated every month
Once in two months, 6 lt.panchakavya should be mixed in 200 lt.water and poured. Too much of water and nutrients would turn the flowers to become red and it will limit the flowering process
After two years of planting but before north-east monsoon, the plants should be cut to a height of one ft from base.
In this process, we cannot get flowers for three months. However, when they come up again, it will be maximum. Yield will be consistent for nearly 20 years if every year we cut the size of the plant. If it grows into a tree it will not give yield. Weeds should be removed then and there
* Dried ginger and garlic karaisal will drive out mealy bugs. It must be sprinkled once in 20 days
The above karaisal can be prepared by powdering ½ kg.each of ginger, garlic, chillies and soaking the same in cow’s urine for six days in a cloth bag
Again, in 10 lt. water, 150 ml.karaisal, 30 ml. castor oil and khadi soap should be mixed and sprinkled with the help of hand-sprinkler
From the sixth month, flowering will start and from the ninth month, it will be more and from the 12th month, it will be full bloom. Plucking of flowers can be done every day and sold as it is or in powder form
Plucking operation can be done between 7 am and 10 am and can be kept in polythene sacks for drying in sunlight for two days.
As long as they are kept away from moisture, we can keep them for several months
If they become wet, it will give room for fungus attack
Krupakaran’s practical achievement in hibiscus cultivation is worth emulating.
(This article originally written in Tamil for Pasumai Vikatan has been reproduced in English by P.S.Ramamurthy)