Pradeep Pattanayak

Kewda flowers grown in Odisha have earned a name across the country, thanks to them being superior in quality. Yet, the Kewda farmers are facing financial crisis. 

Even though Ganjam district alone produces 80 per cent of the nation’s total Kewda production, why are the farmers facing excruciating financial problems?

To understand this, OTV team visited the areas where there are processing units, locally known as ‘bhati’. Investigation revealed that most of these processing units are owned by outsiders. 

The case in point is a processing unit at Rangeilunda. Its owner hails from Kannauj in Uttar Pradesh. Here, after several processes, the essence is extracted from the flower. The essence is used in making ‘attar’ or perfume, in paan masala and in medicines. So, the extracted essence is supplied to different parts of the country. 

Despite all these things, the farmers are facing financial hardship because the entire market is controlled by outsiders, mostly by people from Uttar Pradesh. 

In such a scenario, the state government’s recent announcement of financial assistance to Kewda farmers and opening of a processing unit has come as the light at the end of the tunnel for the farmers here. 

“If all things being equal, 1 kilogram rooh is extracted from 25,000 flowers. But this time, to get 1 kilogram of rooh, 33,000 to 40,000 flowers are being required,” said Swatantra Kumar Dubey, processing unit owner. 

When asked, advisor of Kewda Flower Farmers’ Association said, “Owing to boar menace, the farmers have long stopped growing crops and are now depending on Kewda flower to run families. The package announced by the government is like a drop in the ocean. If the package amount is increased a bit, it will make a difference.”

Informing about the government’s plan for the Kewda farmers, Berhampur Sub-Collector Asutosh Kulkarni said, "If a new distillery with all modern types of equipment is installed, the processing will be done here in Ganjam. And the farmers will sell the extracted rooh and earn more profit."

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