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November 19, 2018

The tale of thriving marigold’s flower business: Women empowered by bringing barren land under cultivation

Peshawar

November 19, 2018

PESHAWAR: As the marigold plants are beginning to blossom, Balqees, a mother of six children, is busy picking the flowers that are in full bloom.

Cultivating marigolds has not only economically empowered around 250 poor women but also brought the barren landscape in Nowshera district under cultivation. The destitute Balqees has gained financial stability by picking the marigold flowers and making garlands at home under a project titled “Women Economic Empowerment and Market Development in Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa” funded by AusAID.

The project is being implemented by the Sarhad Rural Support Programme (SRSP).Like Balqees, the project has economically empowered around 250 poor women of Walai village in Ziarat Kaka Sahib Union Council in Nowshera through the marigold cultivation.

Talking to The News, Balqees said she was grappling with financial problems as she had no source of income to support her family. “I am earning about Rs 15,000 to Rs 20,000 per month by picking marigold flowers from the field and making garlands at home,” she said, adding her other family members also helped her.

Zubair Shah, a landholder planting marigold, said he had been cultivating marigold for 12 years. He said he was able to grow four types of marigolds throughout the year after solarisation of tube-wells under a project of the SRSP.

The farmers were now able to plant citrus trees due to availability of water, he added.Another farmer, Jalal Shah, who also cultivates marigold, said he grew marigold on seven Kanal of land after solarisation of tube-well by the SRSP. He said he easily earned Rs400,000 to Rs600,000 per year.

He said cultivating marigold had economically empowered poor women in Walai village. He said in the past the land remained uncultivated due to non-availability of land. “The SRSP also trained farmers to learn the techniques to grow marigold in the fields and sell their produce on the market at good price,” he added.

Murad Ali Khan, District Programme Manager SRSP told The News that the SRSP launched the project titled “Women’s Economic Empowerment and Market Development” in various districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the assistance of AusAID to contribute to sustainable livelihoods for the poor women.

The projected is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Australian Government. He said the project was launched in Charsadda, Nowshera and Peshawar in 2017.

About the project, he said 60 farmers having 1,337 Kanal land were engaged. He said the uncultivated land was brought under cultivation through solarisation of the three

tube-wells.

The SRSP official said that marigold was one of the components of the Women’s Economic Empowerment and Market Development’s project. He added that marigold was being cultivated on 84 kanals of land at three points in Walai village of union council Ziarat Kaka Sahib including Kuch Bagh, Darmandona and Shakarabad.

He said 84 percent of women and 14 percent male were engaged in the marigold business in Nowshera. He added the SRSP trained the farmers through and arranged their visits to marigold market in Lahore to know new techniques. SRSP official said the organisation would also hold training for women. He said the project had economically empowered 250 poor families. The project was meant for the poor and marginalised segments of the society particularly the women and youth.

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