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Jitendra Singh inaugurates India’s first ‘Lavendar Festival’ in Bhaderwah

The mission promotes the cultivation of aromatic crops for essential oils that are in great demand by the aroma industry.

Statesman News Service | Jammu |

Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh on Thursday inaugurated the country’s first ‘Lavendar festival’ at Jammu’s Bhaderwah where the cultivation of lavender has transformed the economy of the mountainous area.

The minister described Bhaderwah in the Doda district as the birthplace of India’s purple revolution, which he said was possible due to the visionary rural upliftment policies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Jitendra Singh accused previous governments of neglecting places like Bhaderwah and said the economy of such areas was now improving because of better connectivity through roads and tunnels created by the Modi government.

Lavender has changed the fortunes of farmers in Jammu and Kashmir under the ‘Aroma Mission or Purple Revolution’, an initiative of the Central government towards transforming the lives of UT’s farmers’ community.

Pertinently, the Purple or Lavender Revolution was launched in 2016 by the Union Ministry of Science & Technology through the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Aroma Mission. The aim of the mission is to support the domestic aromatic crop-based agro-economy by moving from imported aromatic oils to homegrown varieties.

Lavender cultivation is practiced in almost all 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir. Under the mission, first-time farmers were given free lavender saplings while those who had cultivated lavender before were charged Rs. 5-6 per sapling.

The mission promotes the cultivation of aromatic crops for essential oils that are in great demand by the aroma industry.

In J&K, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu (IIIM Jammu) are the two bodies responsible for taking the Aroma Mission forward.

The CSIR Aroma Mission is envisaged to bring transformative change in the aroma sector through desired interventions in the areas of agriculture, processing, and product development for fuelling the growth of the aroma industry and rural employment.

According to the Lavendar farmers, selling at least one litre of its oil fetches them Rs 10,000. Farmers say that lavender grown over one hectare of land gives them a minimum of 40 litre of lavender oil.

Lavender water, which separates from lavender oil, is used to make incense sticks. Hydrosol, which is formed after distillation from the flowers, is used to make soaps and room fresheners.

Notably, the Doda district is leading the way and four distillation units have been set up by CSIR-IIIM Jammu in the district. Farmers from remote areas of district Doda reach these plants for the extraction of lavender oil.

More than 800 progressive farmers of Doda have adopted aromatic cultivation which is now proved to be profitable.

The mission was aimed to increase lavender cultivation to 1,500 hectares by 2024.

To speed up the production of lavender saplings for meeting the growing demand, the department of agriculture production and farmers welfare has sponsored naturally ventilated semi high-tech poly greenhouses, where saplings will be grown scientifically which will eventually help in bringing more area under lavender farming in less time.