Purple revolution in Jammu & Kashmir: Rural Development through Lavender cultivation
Lavender is commercially one of the best-known essential oil-bearing plants grown for essential oil and dry flowers. Over many decades of scientific interventions, CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu (CSIR-IIIM) has developed its elite variety (RRL-12) and agrotechnology. This variety of Lavender is highly suitable for cultivation in the rainfed regions of the temperate regions of India, including Kashmir valley and temperate regions of the Jammu division. Under CSIR-Aroma Mission, CSIR-IIIM Jammu has introduced Lavender to the farmers of different districts of J&K like Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kupwara and Bandipora. The institute has also provided free Quality Planting Material (QPM) and end-to-end technology package on cultivation, processing, value addition and marketing of Lavender crop to the farmers, in addition to installing fifty distillation units (45 fixed and five mobile) at different locations across J&K to support farmers in processing their produce.’ distress.
Due to the intervention of CSIR-IIIM under CSIR-Aroma Mission, a new industry around Lavender cultivation has developed in the region. More than 1000 farming families are currently cultivating Lavender on more than 200 acres in different parts of J&K. Each farmer has employed at least five other people. This has given employment to more than 5000 farming families in the region. Women are primarily employed in the Lavender fields for harvesting and processing of the flower. Many skill development programs have also been conducted wherein more than 2500 farmers and young entrepreneurs from J&K have been trained on cultivation, processing, value addition and marketing of Lavender.
Lavender oil produced in J&K has a market price of around Rs 10,000/- per kg in the Indian market. Dry Lavender flowers fetch a price between Rs. 1000/- to Rs 1500/- in the Indian market. Lavender oil production in the area varies between 40-60 liters per hectare per year. The net annual income of Lavender farmers has increased many folds from around Rs. 40,000/- to Rs. 60,000/- per hectare to between Rs. 3,50,000/- to Rs. 6,00,000/- per hectare. Farmers of the Doda district produced 300, 500, and 800 Litres of Lavender oil in 2019, 2020, and 2021. They earned > Rs. 3.0 Crore between 2018-2021 by selling dry flowers, QPM of Lavender, and Lavender oil. The production of Lavender oil will increase manifolds in the coming years which will help import substitution and save foreign reserves. Besides, there is also excellent scope for exporting Lavender oil as it has good global demand.
The successful end-to-end technology transfer on the cultivation of Lavender to the farmers of J&K by CSIR-IIIM, Jammu under Aroma Mission has been widely covered nationally and internationally by print and electronic media. The media has recognized this initiative of CSIR-IIIM, Jammu, as the "Purple Revolution in Jammu." CSIR-IIIM Jammu, received CSIR award for S&T innovations for rural development (CAIRD- 2020) for Purple Revolution in Jammu & Kashmir: Rural Development Through Lavender Cultivation in J&K.