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Bhaderwah Crowned India's Lavender Capital & Emerging Agri StartUp Hub, Says Dr. Jitendra Singh

Highlighting the significance of lavender cultivation in the region, Dr. Jitendra Singh noted that it offers employment opportunities and opens avenues for research, leading to multifaceted development.

Shivam Dwivedi
Bhaderwah Crowned India's Lavender Capital & Emerging Agri StartUp Hub, Says Dr. Jitendra Singh (Photo Source: @Dr. Jitendra Singh/Twitter)
Bhaderwah Crowned India's Lavender Capital & Emerging Agri StartUp Hub, Says Dr. Jitendra Singh (Photo Source: @Dr. Jitendra Singh/Twitter)

Bhaderwah, a town in the Jammu region of India, has earned the distinction of being recognized as the Lavender capital of the country and a prime destination for agricultural startups. Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh made this announcement while inaugurating the Lavender festival, a two-day event organized by the CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu, as part of its One Week One Lab Campaign.

Dr. Jitendra Singh hailed Bhaderwah as the birthplace of India's Purple Revolution and a hub for agri-startups. He emphasized that the valley of Bhaderwah epitomizes the remarkable development under the present government, which should have been celebrated earlier, considering its potential for lavender cultivation due to favorable land and climate conditions.

He expressed satisfaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's acknowledgement of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM) in supporting farmers with lavender cultivation in Bhaderwah, Doda district, Jammu and Kashmir, through the CSIR-Aroma Mission. The Prime Minister had praised the efforts of the farmers who ventured into lavender cultivation, as it significantly boosted their income.

The CSIR-Aroma Mission, a flagship project of CSIR, aims to promote lavender cultivation in the temperate regions of Jammu and Kashmir, thereby increasing the income of small and marginal farmers and fostering agriculture-based startups. Dr. Jitendra Singh, the Union Minister of State (IC) of the Ministry of Science & Technology, personally monitors the project. Under his guidance, CSIR-IIIM has implemented lavender cultivation in Bhaderwah and other regions of Jammu and Kashmir.

Over several decades of scientific interventions, CSIR-IIIM has developed its elite variety (RRL-12) and agrotechnology for lavender. This Lavender variety is highly suitable for rainfed temperate regions in India. As part of the CSIR-Aroma Mission, CSIR-IIIM distributed over 30 lakh free lavender plants to farmers across different districts of Jammu and Kashmir. They also provided comprehensive technology packages for the cultivation, processing, value addition, and marketing of the lavender crop. Additionally, CSIR-IIIM installed fifty distillation units (45 fixed and five mobile) at various locations in Jammu and Kashmir to assist farmers in processing their lavender produce.

The adoption of lavender cultivation by many small and marginal maize farmers in the temperate regions of Jammu has been a resounding success. The lavender industry has provided employment opportunities to numerous farmers and young entrepreneurs in the remote areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Thanks to CSIR-IIIM's intervention, a thriving industry centered around lavender cultivation has emerged.

Currently, more than 2500 farmers are engaged in lavender cultivation across different parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Women play a significant role in the lavender fields, undertaking tasks such as harvesting and flower processing, thereby increasing their income. Numerous young entrepreneurs have started small-scale businesses by adding value to lavender oil, hydrosol, and flowers. CSIR-IIIM has conducted various skill development programs, training over 2500 farmers and young entrepreneurs from Jammu and Kashmir in lavender cultivation, processing, value addition, and marketing.

The switch from maize to lavender cultivation has resulted in a substantial increase in the annual income of farmers. Previously earning around Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 60,000 per hectare, farmers now generate an income ranging from Rs. 3,50,000 to Rs. 6,00,000 per hectare. In the Bhaderwah region of Doda district alone, farmers produced 300, 500, 800, and 1500 liters of lavender oil in the years 2019, 2020, 2021, and 2022 respectively.

They earned over Rs. 5.0 crore between 2018 and 2022 through the sale of dried flowers, lavender plants, and lavender oil. The success of CSIR-IIIM's end-to-end technology transfer for lavender cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir, under the Aroma Mission, has garnered national and international attention from both print and electronic media. The media has aptly recognized this initiative as the ‘Purple Revolution.’

In recognition of the Purple Revolution's impact on rural development through lavender cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir, CSIR-IIIM was honored with the CSIR Award for S&T Innovations for Rural Development (CAIRD-2020).

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