Chamba, Tehri; The women of Uttarakhand have been synonymous with every social, cultural, environmental change that the hill-state has seen. So no surprises here when the women of Chopariyal and Churerdhar village have given up traditional farming and taken floriculture to the next level.
Once barren, the fields of Chopariyal and Churerdhar have come to life. Their crop of bright yellow and orange marigold sway in the breeze bringing smiles and a regular income to those who nurture them.
Once plagued with weeds, these fields are carpeted with vibrant marigold flowers in bloom. A feat accomplished under the Integrated Livelihood Project which the women of these villages took to. The Livelihood Project organized the village women in groups and urged them to cultivate flowers, which were easy to grow and also in high demand throughout the year.
The Project provided the ladies with flower seeds and training in collaboration with the Horticulture Department. In April this year, women prepared nurseries of the Pusa Basanti variety of Marigold and once the sapling were ready they were transplanted in fields at an interval of one week.
Project Director Dr. Heeraballabh Pant, tells us, “this has been possible only because of the hard work of these women. Floriculture is a good business and less taxing for women.“
Come September, the first crop of flowers are in bloom and ready to be sold. The women recently sent a quintal of flowers to Rishikesh and split the money amongst themselves. They also received their first order of two quintals of Pusa Basanti which will bloom until mid November. Post which another crop of flowers will be cultivated thus sustaining a dozen families of both the villages.
The women reiterate the fact that cultivation of flowers takes less effort and the profit is good, with a ready market. A happy Shakuntala Devi, of village Churerdhar tells us, “I love flowers and am enjoying cultivating them. There is less labour and makes good money, I am happy with what am doing and will convince other women to join in as well.“
Some fragrance always remains in the hands that distribute flowers, and this phrase comes true for the women of Chopariyal and Churerdhar.