Green, White, Blue, Pink and now, Purple Revolution

    AgricultureAgri-businessGreen, White, Blue, Pink and now, Purple Revolution
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    Green, White, Blue, Pink and now, Purple Revolution

    Speaking of replicating Jammu and Kashmir’s success with lavender farming in other hill states like Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and in the North-East, Union Minister Jitender Singh said that the ‘success of [the] purple revolution is shifting focus to agri-tech start-ups’.

    After the successful completion of the purple revolution (or lavender revolution) in Jammu and Kashmir, the government is planning to extend the initiative in other hilly areas such as Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh and the North-Eastern States, according to Union Minister for Science and Technology, Jitender Singh.

    All India Radio quoted the minister as saying that the key success of the Purple Revolution, or the revolution in lavender farming lies in shifting focus to agri-tech start-ups, spurring entrepreneurship in aromatic oils and other aromatic product manufacturing.

    Motivated by high monetary returns, farmers in the hilly areas of Jammu and Kashmir are rapidly switching from traditional farming to aroma crops like lavender. The minister said that “Aroma crops are both drought and pest resistant, and CSIR is providing all kinds of technical support for promoting this Agri Start-up boon in UT.”

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    The lavender revolution was launched by the ministry of science and technology through the Aroma Mission of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). It aimed at increasing lavender cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir, focussing on the advantage of the geographical conditions and increasing the home-grown market as also the farmers’ income.

    Lavender cultivation is practised in almost all the 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir and first-time farmers were given free lavender saplings under the mission.

    Shifting focus to Agri-tech StartUps

    Though lavender is native to Europe, CSIR introduced high-value essential oil-bearing lavender crop through its Jammu-based laboratory, the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIIM) for cultivation in districts Doda, Kishtwar, and Rajouri. It followed this up with training farmers in the extraction process and the installation of distillation units, as a result of which, many farmers became entrepreneurs specialising in lavender oil.

    Further, many farmers are now keen to cultivate other aroma crops like lemon grass, rose and marigold for extracting costly oils.

    The cultivation of aromatic crops like lavender has now become a popular farming option and is generating rural employment, spurring entrepreneurship and lowering the import of essential and aromatic oils.

    According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, important medicinal and aromatic plants are being cultivated on 6,000 hectares of land and have generated 10 to 12 lakh person-days of rural employment and more than 500 tonnes of essential oil worth Rs. 60 crores over the past two years.

    Over 44,000 persons have been trained so far and it is proposed to engage over 45,000 skilled human resources that would benefit more than 75,000 farming families across the country in the second phase of the Aroma Mission.

    So far, lavender cultivation has employed about 5,000 farmers and young entrepreneurs in geographically remote areas of in the troubled region. Over a thousand farming families are cultivating it on more than 200 acres.

    IIM Jammu has emerged as the key supporter for start-ups in aroma and lavender farming by helping them sell their produce, thanks to a CSIR-IIIM initiative to introduce lavender to farmers.


    Image: Hippopx, licenced to use Creative Commons Zero – CC0

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