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Lured by big profits, J&K farmers switching to lavender cultivation

According to official statistics, as many as 5,000 entrepreneurs (farmers) are cultivating lavender on more than 200 acres of land. This has led to 4-5 times increase in their economy.

SP Sharma | Jammu |


With lavender cultivation becoming a profitable proposition, many farmers in the mountainous regions of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) are turning towards planting the ‘purple gold’.

An official from J&K said that lavender cultivation has been amplified across J&K by the implementation of various schemes by the state administration. This, in turn, has increased the farmers’ income by four to five times.

Thousands of farmers in J&K are opting for lavender cultivation. According to official statistics, as many as 5,000 entrepreneurs (farmers) are cultivating lavender on more than 200 acres of land. This has led to 4-5 times increase in their economy.

Farmers in J&K have traditionally been growing cereals such as maize, rice and millets which won’t get them good returns. But opting for lavender cultivation has proved profitable to them.

Lavender cultivation, also known as ‘Purple Revolution’, is an initiative the Central government has taken to improve the income of farmers in J&K. Since then, many farmers have given up traditional farming and switched to lavender cultivation.

A farmer from Pulwama, South Kashmir, Ali Muhammad said, “Traditional farming was not proving profitable. After switching to lavender farming, we are satisfied. Besides being profitable, farming lavender farming does not get affected much due to deficient rainfall unlike traditional farming.”

Aroma Mission or Purple Revolution, which is transforming the lives of UT’s farmers, was launched in the year 2016 by the then Union Ministry of Science & Technology through the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s (CSIR) Aroma mission supported by Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Jammu.

It aims to support domestic aromatic crop-based agro-economy by switching from imported aromatic oils to home-grown varieties. Under the mission, first-time farmers were given free lavender saplings, while those who had cultivated lavender before were charged Rs 5 to 6 per sapling.

The lavender cultivation is being practiced in almost all 20 districts of J&K and farmers are happy with farming of unconventional aromatic plants.

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 aroma industry and rural employment. It is expected to enable Indian farmers and the aroma industry to become global leaders in the production and export of some essential oils in the pattern of menthol mint.

According to the Lavender farmers, selling of around one litre of its oil fetches them Rs 20,000. The lavender grown over one hectare of land gives a minimum of 40 litre of lavender oil. Moreover, lavender water, which separates from lavender oil, is used to make incense sticks and hydrosol, which is formed after distillation from the flowers, is used to make soap and room freshener.

IIIM-Jammu even helps farmers to sell their produce. Many private companies also procure lavender extracts from the farmers directly. Notably, Doda district is leading the way, where four distillation units have been set up by CSIR-IIIM, Jammu. Farmers from remote areas of the district reach these plants for extraction of lavender oil. More than 800 progressive farmers of Doda have adopted aromatic cultivation.