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Kashmir valley witnessing ‘purple revolution’ as Lavender farming yields good revenue

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By Qiesar Baba Srinagar: Kashmir valley is witnessing a ‘purple revolution’ as Lavender farming yields bumper crops this year much to the delight of the people associated with it.

The harvesting of the crop has almost been completed at most of the places much ahead of its exact time to save the crop from dry weather conditions, Mukhtar Ahmad Wani, Incharge Check-e-Badrinath Lavender farm in south Kashmir’s Pulwama told UNI.Wani attributed the bumper crop to a short spell of dry weather during harvesting, which was completed earlier than usual.

He noted that there is high demand for Kashmir Valley’s lavender in India and globally. Lavender, a perennial plant that can live up to 20 years under optimal conditions, is a beautiful aromatic shrub with purple flowers containing high levels of essential oil.The essential oil of lavender is recognized globally as a respected commodity besides it has several medicinal and other uses. It is of very low toxicity, while showing remarkable antiseptic and antimicrobial action, the experts said.

The flowers of lavender are very rich in nectar and attract bees and other pollinators. After being cut and dried, lavender flowers are used in the aromatic fragrance industry. Lavender plants are also grown as ornamental. Commercially, the plant is grown mainly for the production of Lavender essential oil.Wani said this year on the 22 Kanals of Lavender farm at Check-e-Badrinath around 19.6 quintals of flowers were harvested comparing to the last year of 17.45 quintals

There are two distillation plants in the valley one each in Allowpora Shopian and another in Srinagar where the processing of lavender is being done to extract the oil.“The stem of Lavender is usually producing a good crop after two years and it is completely an organic based flower”, Wani said and added” however, excess watering causes fungal infection to the crop”.

He urged the farmers who had land on upper heights to adopt the Lavender farming to earn handsomely every year.The Department of Agriculture in Jammu and Kashmir is helping farmers increase their market and cultivation on a commercial level. Lavender is also considered to be a low-maintenance crop and blossoms for more than 20 years, Wani said.

Director Agriculture Chowdhary Mohammad Iqbal told UNI that prior to Holistic Agriculture Development Program (HADP) approximately 27.85 hectares of land was used for Lavender cultivation while 98.64 hectares of land was brought under Lavender cultivation under HADP during the year 2023-24 in Kashmir valley.He said there are approximately 126.50 hectares of land area under Lavender cultivation presently in Kashmir valley. The production of Lavender Biomass before the HADP was 557 quintals with 560 liters of oil extraction.

The expected production of Lavender Biomass after three years is likely to reach 2530 quintals which can produce 2600 liters of oil with expected revenue of Rs 3 crore to Rs 4 Crore per year, the Director Agriculture said.Giving details of the Lavender production, he said at Sirhama Lavender farm on 6.05 hectares 66.50 quintals purple flowers were harvested during the year 2021-22 while as on 6.55 hectares it produced 93.35 quintals during the year 2022-23, while on 7.55 hectares the harvesting recorded 57.40 quintals.

Similarly at S M farm Allowpora Shopian in south Kashmir on the area of 1.75 hectares 43 quintals were produced on 1.75 hectares of land during the year 2021-22, 26.20 quintals on 2.272 hectares during 2022-23. However this year the harvesting on the land is still undertaken.At Model Floriculture centre Nuner Ganderbal in central Kashmir produces 67 quintals of Lavender on 3.40 hectares of land during the year 2023-24 which was 21 quintals more than the previous year and at Agricheck Shopian the production touched to the highest 19.0 quintals during the year 2023-24 on 1.10 hectares of land and it was approximately a quintal more than the previous production, he said.

According to experts, Kashmir Valley has perfect conditions for lavender cultivation. ‘In one Kanal there is a production of over one quintal of lavender. The government rate for one litre of oil is Rs 12,000

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