Srinagar: Kashmir is historically known for its apples, walnuts, saffron, chinar, pine trees, and tulips, but this time it has gained attention for its lavender farming.
A scented blooming plant called lavender is widely cultivated throughout temperate areas for usage as a decorative or culinary herb.
The farmers' community in Kashmir views the production of lavender as a significant advancement.
Lavender farming is becoming more popular in the valley, according to Muhammad Yaqoub, a farmer from Pulwama in south Kashmir.
"I have begun growing lavender in my fields, and everyone is responding positively. I also have nice buyers and the profit margin is also good," he added.
Another lavender grower from the Anantnag district, Javid Ahmad, claimed that the Sirhama lavender farm is becoming a well-liked tourist destination.
"Both locals and visitors flock to see the lavender blossom. Every day, you can see a large number of tourists taking pictures in our fields," he claimed.
He continued by saying that the Kashmiri tourist industry is benefiting from this flower as well.
Kashmir is moving towards a “purple revolution” as the farmers are slowly switching over from the traditional crops to more rewarding farming of lavender, a purple blossomed aromatic shrub.
Lavender is used to extract oil, which is then utilised to create products like soap, cosmetics, fragrances, air fresheners, and medications. The lavender plant doesn't need a lot of water, and it's unlikely that it will be attacked by bugs or other animals that eat crops. A single lavender plant may be utilised after just two years after planting, blooms for fifteen years, and requires little upkeep.
Farmers in the districts of Anantnag, Pulwama, Budgam, Ganderbal, and Kupwara have started to transition away from conventional crops, such as fruits, in favour of lavender cultivation thanks to government help.
Lavender farming is being promoted and expanded in the scenic southern district of Pulwama thanks in large part to the Bonera-based field station of the CSIR Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine. Through their tireless work, they are transforming the region's agricultural practices and empowering local labourers.
The livelihoods of the employees employed on the lavender farm have significantly improved. Previously, many of them relied on conventional agricultural methods that produced little profits. Now that lavender farming has been established, they have access to a valuable commodity with higher market pricing.
Research on lavender cultivars that are suited for the climatic conditions of Jammu and Kashmir has been extensively done by the CSIR Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine. They have created sturdy, disease-resistant lavender plants via rigorous selection and breeding, providing prosperous harvests for the growers.
Lavender farming was launched as the ‘Aroma Mission’ of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research and Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, under the Ministry of Science and Technology. After the success of Phase I, the CSIR has started Phase II, which will include over 45,000 skilled human resources and help over 75,000 families. According to officials, the climate of J&K is highly conducive for lavender cultivation as this plant can grow in cold temperatures and moderate summers.
The Kashmir part of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is perceived as the hub of medicinal plants. Lavender, particularly, shows promising potential as a therapeutic and aromatic herb that can positively contribute towards India’s economic and medical prospects. Kashmir’s lavender is captivating both domestic and international markets. Findings have indicated that lavender farming can prove profitable for farmers given a sustained demand and organised farmer activities. To boost lavender production and export, the Government of India has been taking transformational steps.
The Purple Revolution or Lavender Revolution, launched by the Ministry of Science & Technology, aims to promote the indigenous aromatic crop-based agro-economy through the ‘aroma mission’ of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).