I want to begin this blog with this Million pounds question!
How good would it be for the farmers of Paddar and for the entire Paddar region if they somehow succeed in quadrupling their income from agricultural produce in two or three years from now?
It seems like a joke, isn’t it? But it is true, let us learn how!
Story of Aroma Mission in J&K
It was 2017 when IIIM (Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine) Jammu under the CSIR (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research) launched Aroma Mission in J&K to boost cultivation of flowering plants viz. Lavender, Rosemary etc. in the UT.
It is a well-known fact that India imports aromatic oil profusely from foreign countries. So in order to switch from imported oils to home grown oils this mission was launched in J&K, thanks to conducive temperate climate of some districts of Jammu region.
This Mission got good response from the Jammu region of Union Territory especially from the Doda, Rajouri, Ramban and Udhampur district which benefitted a lot from it.
Under this mission free samplings of Lavender were provided to farmers who were not aware of it before by IIIM Jammu. And with this cultivation of this crop increased many rungs in J&K. Many are looking forward to Doda, Bhaderwah region where this commercial crop has changed the economic lives of farmers.
Phase 1 of this Aroma Mission was successful and recently Phase 2 was launched on 9th of Feb 2021 by CSIR-IIIM-Jammu.
What is Purple revolution?
Better yields from the farming of Lavender crop and its increasing economic significance in the UT is termed as Purple revolution.
Lavender is a flowering plant which produces purple coloured flower and hence the word purple has come before the word revolution.
Significance of Lavender for Paddar and Kishtwar region
Lavender is an aromatic flowering plant. In simple words it means that flowers of this plant are used in the production of oil which is further used in the making of perfumes, soaps, incense sticks etc.
According to CSIR, today market rate of Lavender oil is rupees 10,000 per litre. And it is estimated that about 40 litres of oil can be extracted from 1 hectare of land.
From this you can estimate the economic significance of this commercial crop and jump it can bring in the income of farmers in Paddar.
Like Doda, Paddar too has a temperate climate and it can be said beyond doubt that lavender can increase the income of farmers in Paddar four times as well.
Benefits of Levander cropping
As Lavender is a flowering plant hence it is resistant from the monkey menace. You can reap benefits from it for many years, yes you read it right.
Once grown properly this crop can give you returns every year. Moreover, fertilizers and excess water in not required for it. Simple cow dung can work wonders in its farming.
So there are no fears about ROI (Returns on Investment). So we can easily switch to Lavender crop.
How to Start Lavender farming in Paddar, Kishtwar?
Farmers in Paddar can directly take help from IIIM-Jammu in this regard. It is not difficult as we think to go for it as they are eager to help in this regard.
Main thing which stops us from going with the Lavender farming is the feeling that people or relatives surrounding us would laugh at us. But that is not the case. There are many farmers in Doda who are doing Lavender farming since 2010.
Bharat Bhushan a lavender farmer from Doda, Khelaini is the source of inspiration in this regard.
Three stages of Lavender farming
Farming: Once you switch to Lavender in place of maize or any other crop it takes time, a minimum of 2-3 year time before you start reaping the fruit of your labour.
Distilling: There are 4 distillation units set up by CSIR-IIIM Jammu in Doda. You can extract oil from the plant there. Gradually more units will be opened in J&K as per IIIM.
Selling: After the extraction of oil happens you can sell it in the market. IIIM is ready to help in this regard. Also, Mumbai based companies Ajmal Biotech Private Limited, Aditi International and Navretri Gamika are the primary buyers of this crop. You can sell your produce directly to these companies also.
Commercial cropping is not new to Paddar. We are expert at it, don’t we? We learnt potato farming long time ago. Mustard, peas are the primary crops we grow in Paddar to sell. So what is stopping us from switching to Lavender if there are promising hopes in it.
It is a drawback though that it is not being spread with the aid of Horticulture and Floriculture departments otherwise Paddar too would have reaped benefits of it. CSIR-IIIM is looking forward to it as well. Doda, Ramban region is practising Lavender farming since 2010 and it is shocking that there is not a single farmer in Paddar who has made attempts in this direction.
So it is high time now that we switch to Lavender farming now and help our farmer increase their income four times.
Those of you who have read this article to the end please share it with your friends and relatives on social media platforms or orally in the form of story and aware them of the benefits of Purple Revolution and the golden opportunity that it has brought for Paddar.
DDC councillor and BDC Chairman Paddar can also play their role in injecting Purple revolution in Paddar. Media channels in Paddar should also high light this issue for the better and prospered Paddar.
It would be great if CSIR-IIIM takes interest in Paddar as well. Paddar too can greatly contribute to the Purple Revolution that is happening in J&K.