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Purple Revolution’ Blooms in Jammu & Kashmir as Lavender Plantations Increase Farmers’ Income

Jatinder Dev, a farmer from Gutasa village in Bhaderwah, a township in Jammu and Kashmir's Doda district, first planted Lavender three years ago in two kanals (around 506 square meters each). This land flourished into a sea of sweet-smelling purple last year, and he earned about Rs 15,000 from the harvest.

Kritika Madhukar

Dev is one of 1,200 farmers in Bhaderwah, which is located in the Jammu division of the union territory, who have switched to lavender cultivation from maize and other grains, which did not bring in much money.

These purple flowers were brought to the region from Kashmir in 2010 as part of the central government's efforts to improve the local farming community and encourage start-ups and agriculturists from across the country.

This was done as part of the Ministry of Science and Technology's 'Aroma Mission,' which included the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM).

A group of growers from the region was chosen for a trial program in which they were given 2-3 Kanal of land for lavender cultivation.

These initiatives, combined with farmer enthusiasm, have enhanced lavender orchards in the Bhaderwah region, a trend dubbed the "Purple Revolution." The region currently has more than 200 acres of land dedicated to lavender cultivation, which is expected to double by the end of the year.

The villages of Tipri and Lehrote have 80 percent growers growing lavender in the region. Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of Science and Technology, launched India's first 'Lavender Festival' in Bhaderwah on May 27.

"Lavender is an avenue for job creation and research that opens many paradigms of development for the region," Singh said at the time. In addition, the minister dedicated six distillation units for the extraction of lavender oil.

According to reports, lavender cultivation employs approximately 5,000 farmers and young entrepreneurs in geographically remote areas of J&K, and more than 1,000 farming families cultivate it on more than 200 acres.

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