It was one of my best experiences working on the jasmine story. It was a great journey along with my friend Xciba Angel who captured brilliant pictures of farmers, vendors and people who make a living with Jasmine flowers.
Hearing stories of little girls who dream of becoming engineers and police officers unaware of their family’s economic condition, was heart touching. India is a farming country in reality. We are gifted with perennial rivers and hardworking men. But, these common men of the country are the one’s who sell their lands to make do loss and move to urbanization in search of livelihood. This story that talks about the plight of Jasmine farmers is close to my heart for many reasons.
A special thanks to Xciba Angel for her company, support and great photos! Check out the e-copy attached below to see the photos.
The link to the published article:
The following are the details missing in the published story:
One of the farmers from Gummidipoondi in Chennai, Munnusamy’s daughter Uma dreams of becoming a police officer. She travels five kilometers and goes to the government school in Thavarapettai after picking flowers in her father’s farm till 8 am.
They use chemical pesticides and fertilizers. “There is a burning sensation on our body for almost three hours after we spray the pesticide but nothing happens after that,” said another K.Munnusamy who has planted marigolds in his field. “Organic methods are there but they will not bring good yield. Not with all these factories and pollution around the farm,” he said.
The farms are irrigated through wells and bore water through cannels. “We incur around 2 lakh rupees expense to install bore wells and pumps for a land. Over that it takes another 1 lakh to obtain electricity. If we pay one lakh we can get it in a month or so; if we go for the Rs. 50,000 service we will get electricity only after six months or a year. Another few thousands have to be paid under the desk to get the work done,” said a farmer. They find it difficult as no loans are sanctioned to them. Many sold their lands and moved into the city for industry work. K.Munnusamy planted jasmines in 110 cents of his land last April and incurred a loss of 1.5 lakhs because of flowers that came to the markets from other parts of the state like Hosur. “I had three acres land 10 years ago, now I have barely half an acre,” he said. They sell their lands to make do losses.
Behind every strand of flowers that comes to the market there is a story of uncertainty and indigence of farmers.
E-copy of the story: