Lavender cultivation helps change fortunes of marginal farmers in Bhaderwah

Lavender cultivation helps change fortunes of marginal farmers in Bhaderwah

Bhaderwah, Mar 12: Giving up the age-old traditional farming of growing maize crops, about 2500 marginal farmers residing on the vast hilly slopes of district Bhaderwah are embracing profitable aromatic lavender farming.

The farmers successfully brought in the purple revolution. Union Minister of State for Science and Technology Dr Jatinder Singh said that Bhaderwah has not only emerged as the “birthplace of lavender in India but has also created history by bringing purple revolution in the country.”

Farmers of hilly district Doda, who are growing lavender under Union Government’s Aroma Mission said that by adopting farming of unconventional aromatic plants, they are on path of practically fulfilling PM’s dream of “Atmanirbhar Bharat.”

The IIIM (Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine) introduced lavender in the temperate regions of the Jammu division under CSIR-Aroma Mission in 2018 and tried to popularize it in Doda, Kishtwar, and Rajouri districts.

Finding a suitable cold climate and favorable growing conditions, a couple of small and marginal farmers of Bhaderwah region of Doda district took the risk and switched to lavender cultivation from traditional maize growing in 2017, the only agricultural practice they have been doing for ages.

 For increasing their income, the farmers joined the initiative under CSIR-Aroma Mission in a big way and within 5 years, 2500 farmers have started cultivating lavender in their fields at several villages including Tipri, Lehrote, Killar, Koundla, Himote, Sartingal, Butla, Nalthi and Nakshari of Bhaderwah.

 A Bhaderwah farmer Touqeer Bagban (36) has come a long way to become an inspiration for many. This Class XI pass out is known for changing the face of farming. He has transitioned from traditional crops such as maize to lavender farming that give him better dividends.

Bagban started lavender cultivation on a small piece of land at Dandi village of Bhaderwah in 2017 and today he owns a company which manufactures aromatic products. His success story and style of farming does not only follow the usual rags-to-riches story, but he has also modernised farming. He has not only changed his fortunes by taking to lavender cultivation, but of many others as well.

Bagban said: “I followed the same traditional methods of farming as my forefathers. Due to the limited scope of irrigation in the Kandi belts, we were not able to switch over to other crops which could bring us more profit.”

“In 2017, I got in touch with the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM), Jammu. Officials at the institute motivated me to cultivate new crops. They provided me with lavender saplings. I was a little hesitant at first but the results turned out to be fruitful,” Bagban said.

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