Describes Bhaderwah as Lavender capital, Agri StartUp destination
BHADERWAH, June 4: Describing Bhaderwah as the Lavender capital of India and Agri StartUp destination because of the incumbent Government at the Centre, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh today alleged that the earlier elected representatives of the area didn’t give due attention to development of the region.
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Without naming anyone, he said that despite representation of the area at top level in Union as well as State Governments from time to time, Bhaderwah remained ignored in past and was paid little attention in respect of development.
“They used to describe Bhaderwah as Chhota Kashmir but no one ever tried to develop it as alternative to Kashmir valley as tourist destination,” said Dr Singh while inaugurating the 2 -day Lavender festival, organized by CSIR- Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu as part of its ‘One Week One Lab Campaign’.
Describing Bhaderwah as the birthplace of India’s Purple Revolution and the destination of Agri-StartUps, the Union Minister said that the Valley of Bhaderwah is the best example of development of the present progressive Government at the Centre which should have been celebrated much earlier, Bhaderwah being the best place for lavender cultivation in terms of land and climate.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that Lavender is an avenue of employment generation and research opening many paradigms of development in the region. “The lavender cultivation has changed the lives of many farmers and it is heartening to note that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the 99th Edition of Mann Kki Baat, appreciated the efforts of the CSIR-IIIM in supporting farmers in cultivation of Lavender in the Bhaderwah, Doda district, J&K under CSIR-Aroma Mission,” he said and informed that around two and a half thousand farmers are cultivating Lavender in the area increasing their income.
Pertinent to mention that the CSIR-Aroma Mission is a flagship project of CSIR under which Lavender cultivation is being promoted in the temperate regions of J&K. The aim of the project is to increase the income of small and marginal farmers and develop agriculture-based Startups. The project is being directly monitored by Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (I/C) of the Ministry of Science & Technology.
The CSIR-IIIM has developed its elite variety (RRL-12) and agrotechnology of Lavender, which is highly suitable for cultivation in the rainfed temperate regions of India. Under CSIR-Aroma Mission, CSIR-IIIM introduced Lavender and provided more than 30 lakh free Lavender plants to the farmers of different districts of J&K. The end-to-end technology package for cultivation, processing, value addition, and marketing of the Lavender crop were also provided to the farmers.
Due to the intervention of CSIR-IIIM, a new industry around Lavender cultivation has developed in the region. Many young entrepreneurs have started small-scale businesses through the value addition of Lavender oil, hydrosol, and flowers. The net annual income of farmers who switched from maize to Lavender cultivation has increased many folds from around Rs 40,000/- to Rs 60,000/- per hectare to Rs 3,50,000/- to Rs 6,00,000/- per hectare. Farmers of the Bhaderwah, Doda district earned more than Rs 5 crore between 2018-2022 by selling dry flowers, Lavender plants and Lavender oil.
Prominent among others present at the inaugural of Lavender festival, included Dr D Srinivasa Reddy, Director, CSIR-IICT; Dr Zabeer Ahmed, Director, CSIR-IIIM, Jammu; Dhanetar Singh, DDC Chairman, Doda; Sangeeta Rani Bhagat, DDC Vice Chairman, Doda and Vishesh Paul Mahajan, Deputy Commissioner Doda.