In Jammu and Kashmir, farmers have abandoned traditional maize cultivation and started growing lavender flowers. It is proving to be relatively more beneficial to them. It is called the beginning of the ‘Purple Revolution’.
The Kashmir Valley, a state in northern India that borders Pakistan, relies primarily on agriculture for livelihood. Here, farmers constitute 80% of the state’s population, making agriculture and horticulture the backbone of the regional economy. The unique climate in the Himalayan foothills enables the cultivation of exotic fruits and vegetables, which are not typically grown in the rest of the country.
According to government records, an estimated 60% of Kashmir’s agriculture depends on rainwater for irrigation. However, in recent years, its valley has witnessed the worst dry seasons in its history.
The Meteorological Department shows that instead of an average of 622 mm of snow, the mountain ranges of the valley during the last three years witnessed a mere 172 mm, indicating a problematic change in the weather pattern. This directly affected the region’s agricultural sector and farmers have suffered devastating losses.
Government estimates indicate that more than 1,000 farming families currently engage in lavender cultivation on over 200 acres in various regions of Jammu and Kashmir. Each of these farmers offers employment opportunities to at least five other people. Consequently, the mission already benefits over 6,000 families.
Lavender in 20 J&K districts
Lavender cultivation, which was introduced to Jammu and Kashmir in 2007 as an experiment to help farmers switch to more profitable crops, is now showing revolutionary results. A group of farmers in the region were selected for a trial program in which they were given 2-3 canals of land to grow lavender.
These initiatives, along with the enthusiasm of farmers, have fueled lavender plantings in the Bhaderwah region, a growth coined the “Purple Revolution.” There are currently over 200 acres of land devoted to Lavender cultivation in the region, which is projected to double by the end of the year.
Lavender cultivation is practised in almost all twenty J&K districts, while Kashmir has recently taken over this prestigious crop, Particular districts that have made substantial progress in this area include Kathua, Udhampur, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Srinagar, Pulwama, Kupwara, Bandipora, Budgam, Ganderbal, Anantnag, Kulgam and Baramulla.
Lavender farming has changed the fortunes of J&K farmers under the ‘Mission Scent or Purple Revolution,’ a central government initiative to transform the lives of the UT farming community.
After the successful completion of Phase I, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has launched Phase II, a more extensive effort with the goal of engaging more than 45,000 trained individuals and benefiting over 75,000 families. Officials state that the climate in Jammu and Kashmir is highly conducive to the cultivation of lavender, thanks to its ability to thrive in cold temperatures and moderate summer conditions.
What is the Purple Revolution?
Purple Revolution (lavender cultivation) was launched under the Aroma Mission of the Union Ministry of Science and Technology.
At J&K, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu (IIIM Jammu) are the two bodies responsible for the implementation of the Aroma Mission at J&K.
The CSIR Aroma Mission is expected to bring about transformative change in the flavouring sector through desired interventions in the areas of agriculture, processing, and product development to drive the growth of the flavouring industry and rural employment.
The objective of the Mission is the cultivation of important medicinal and aromatic plants at the national level to empower domestic farmers and support India’s aromatic crop-based agro-economy by reducing imports of aromatic oils and increasing varieties of homegrown. However, the cultivation of lavender is native to Europe.
Thousands of J&K farmers are switching to lavender cultivation, which has been very profitable for them. According to the statistics, 5,000 entrepreneurs/farmers are growing lavender on more than 200 acres of land, which has led to a 4-5 times increase in their economy.
J&K farmers traditionally grew grains such as corn, rice and millet, which did not provide much profit, but with the cultivation of lavender, their profits have multiplied several times.
Lavender cultivation, also called “Purple Revolution”, is a central government initiative to improve farmers’ income in J&K. Many farmers have abandoned traditional farming and turned to lavender cultivation for profit.
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