Srinagar: Paradise comes alive by the scent of lavender.
Thanks to the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (CSIR-IIIM), lavender cultivation has become increasingly popular in Jammu and Kashmir.
Taking a cue from the US, Australia, and France, Jammu and Kashmir has become the first State/Unionin territorry in the country to host a lavender festival and showcase the rich biodiversity of medicinal and aromatic plants
CSIR-IIIM has kick-started a two-day lavender festival in Bhaderwah from today.
Lavender is a shrubby perennial plant that stays up to 15-20 years. The primary mode of propagation is preferred through the rooted cuttings. The plant produces flowers in bulk– giving commercial output in the third year of its growth. It requires minimum water and maximum sunshine.
With its multiple uses beyond sheer fragrance – the cosmetic, culinary, medicinal, craft, and decorative – the essential oils extracted from the magical herb have benefited a large number of farmers and fostered dozens of small creative ventures across the UT.
Official figures show that more than 1000 farming families are associated with lavender cultivation. In addition to this, the cultivation has employed more than 5000 entrepreneurs in the region.
Nodal Scientist Aroma Mission, CSIR IIIm, Dr. Sumeet Gairola told The Kashmir Monitor that lavender cultivation began in J&K under the Aroma Mission.
“We created a cluster of farmers in selected regions that are ideal for this type of cultivation. They include Kupwara, where the Karewa belt is known, Doda, and Kishtwar. Proper technical support and quality planting material was offered to the farmers,” he said.
Gairola maintained that 45 distillation units were installed for processing and extracting lavender oil in the last seven years.
“Presently, there are 11 units in Doda district alone to cater to the needs of the farmers. A lot of people are showing interest in lavender farming. To promote the concept and connect industry as well as the tourism sector with lavender, we decided to conduct a festival on the instructions of the Ministry of Science and Technology.”
He noted the festival will bring people from this industry, academia, and farmers on the same page. “They will go to the fields and interact with the farmers. They can discuss and understand their problems/expectations more closely. Also, the use of new technologies can be explored to boost its production,” Gairola said.
The highlights of the festival will be the cultural events involving the local community. On May 26, Union minister of state for Science and Technology Dr. Jitendra Singh will inaugurate six new distillation units and facilitate farmers and entrepreneurs with success stories.
(This story has not been checked by JK Mega and is auto-generated from other sources)