An FPO of around 400 farmers in the drought-prone village of Wadji, Maharashtra, has come up with a clever solution to their water problems. Not only are their grounds prosperous from the cultivation of roses, but they also sell their products all over India.
It is said that the rose is the embodiment of love, but for the inhabitants of the village of Wadji, it turned out to be the ladder of their success. Residents of the village of Wadji are facing a severe water shortage.
How Kundlik became a millionaire
Solapur district is one of the most drought prone regions. A farmer named Kundlik tells his story of becoming a millionaire, despite the severe water shortage in his village.
Kundlik further explains that farming in his area is not an easy task. The people who live there have to walk for miles just to fetch mere liters of water. Most farmers in the region grew sugar cane. Sugarcane is a water-intensive crop, which means it consumes a lot of water. This cultivation of sugar cane has led to a severe depletion of the amount of water at ground level.
However, this tide has changed over the years. Farmers in the village of Wadji are now earning millions for every acre, thanks to their rose plantations. Their products are sold all over India.
How did it happen?
Kundlik and other farmers have been forced to reconsider their farming methods due to the severe water shortage in their community. Nearly 20 farmers contacted a representative of the Agricultural Technology Management Agency (ATMA), a state government program that aims to help and guide farmers in advancing agriculture.
Kundlik and the other farmers discussed the different types of alternative crops they could adopt. During the discussion, a farmer shared the case of another farmer, who continued growing roses. He shared that the other farmer was from a nearby village called Pinjawadi. The farmer in the neighboring village bought a rose bush that had been grafted. He propagated the seedling and eventually established a rose plantation. He was unsuccessful at first, however, he was able to run the farm with less water.
Rose is a low maintenance crop and uses less water
This story inspired everyone. As the rose is a crop requiring little maintenance and consuming less water, all the farmers of the village of Wadji decided to start growing it.
Additionally, Solapur and its adjoining regions are pilgrimage hotspots that attract tens of thousands of pilgrims throughout the year. Farmers started growing roses in anticipation of profitable market opportunities.
Kundlik started growing roses on a 0.25 acre plot. He adopted chemical methods to grow roses. He started selling his roses at a price of 4 rupees per kg. On religious occasions, the price rose to Rs. 15 per Kg.
After a while, Kundlik and other farmers, who took up growing roses, began to notice a sudden boom in their businesses.
For this reason, farmers began to improve their agriculture. They have started targeting buyers from Telangana, Mumbai and Bengaluru. They started importing roses by putting them in ice packs. They again sought help from a government official to come up with ideas to market their rose business and the official suggested the farmers to process the flowers and sell them as gulkand, rose water and other products. He also promised to train and guide them on marketing strategies and skills.