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Lavender Farming to See Big Boom Under ‘One District, One Product’ Initiative in Jammu & Kashmir

The central government has designated Lavender as a 'Doda brand product' to promote the exotic aromatic plant, bringing cheers to Agri startups, entrepreneurs and farmers associated with its cultivation under the Aroma mission.

Ayushi Raina
Lavender has been designated as a 'Doda brand product' by the central government to promote the exotic aromatic plant
Lavender has been designated as a 'Doda brand product' by the central government to promote the exotic aromatic plant

The birthplace of India's purple revolution, Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district, is expected to see a significant increase in Lavender cultivation under the 'one district, one product' scheme, with the government, army, and various other institutions all pitching in to help boost its output. 

Lavender has been designated as a 'Doda brand product' by the central government to promote the exotic aromatic plant, bringing joy to Agri startups, entrepreneurs, and farmers involved in its cultivation as part of the Aroma mission. 

To assist the startups, the Bhaderwah-based Rashtriya Rifles unit has sponsored a lavender nursery in Dradhu village and has established a fully-funded lavender by-products unit in Nai-Basti hamlet, where women are being trained in the production of soaps, incense sticks, perfume, hand wash, and room fresheners to provide 'value addition' to the aromatic plant. 

"The medicinal and aromatic plants sector is a sunrise industry with plenty of opportunities for new, young, imaginative entrepreneurs to develop profitable, eco-friendly, natural product industries," said colonel Rajat Parmar, commanding commander of the Bhaderwah-based Rashtriya Rifles unit. 

The CSIR-IIIM (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine) Jammu has distributed eight lakh saplings to farmers following the 'one district, one product' initiative, and has set a target of growing another 50 lakh saplings in Bhaderwah by September for distribution among farmers under the Aroma Mission two, not only in Doda but also in Reasi, Udhampur, Kathua, and Rajouri districts of the Jammu.

"In the next two to three years, we expect a five-fold rise in output, which will undoubtedly produce agri-entrepreneurs who will help develop lavender as a brand of Doda throughout the country," said Sumit Gairola, Nodal Scientist CSIR Aroma Mission. 

Second, he stated that the initiative would aid in shifting the government's and industry's emphasis to lavender, and that its products in Doda will multiply the revenue of local farmers. 

According to Gairola, it would also help boost the tourism sector in Bhaderwah, commonly known as "mini-Kashmir" for its beautiful and mesmerizing landscape. 

"I became a laughingstock in my village when I decided to switch from traditional maize growing to lavender farming 10 years ago," national award-winning farmer Bharat Bhushan said. However, after the Union government's Aroma Mission in 2016, more farmers started growing aromatic plants, especially lavender, and by 2020, Bhaderwah Valley became popular for starting the purple revolution. He expressed his pride in being a part of this, as lavender has been declared the brand product of the district. " 

NABARD also encouraged and funded us the formation of an FPO. In a short period of time, 120 progressive lavender farmers joined Himalayan essential oils and established two dozen nurseries in Bhaderwah, including Dradhu, Nai Basti, Khellani, Lehrote, and Neota "According to Bhushan. 

The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has established an FPO (Farmer Producer Organization) in Bhaderwah to provide Lavender farmers with end-to-end assistance and services that include technical services, marketing, processing, and other elements of growing inputs. 

To address the increased demand for lavender saplings, the Department of Agriculture Production and Farmers Welfare has funded naturally ventilated semi-high-tech poly greenhouses in and around Bhaderwah, where saplings will be produced scientifically which will eventually help in bringing more area under lavender farming in less time. 

Farmers and other stakeholders involved in the production and extraction of lavender oil and other value-added products expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Jatinder Singh for recognizing their efforts and providing them with a distinct identity by declaring Doda as the Lavender district. 

"This would go a long way in not only making the farmers economically self-sufficient, but also putting Bhaderwah on the international tourism map as the birthplace of India's purple revolution," Touqeer Bagwan, a young entrepreneur from JK Aroma Bhaderwah, said. 

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