Purple Revolution: Indian Farmers Turn to Lavender to Overcome Drought Global Development

ITK’s late June and the field is glowing with fragrant purple as the women flow shalwar kameez Arrive with scissors to harvest lavender. In 30 strange hilltop villages in Jammu’s Doda district, more than 200 farmers have shifted from maize to laundry production, sparking a “purple revolution” in the region.

The village of Lehrot gained a moment of agricultural fame this year when a 43-year-old farmer, Bharat Bhushan, won a prestigious award for modern farming from the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, one of the country’s many institutions to find a way to. Looking for Coping with the climate crisis and its devastating effects on agriculture. Lavender, a drought-tolerant crop, can be grown on poor soil and loves the sun but needs a little water.

Women arrange lavender on Bhushan plastic sheets while taking selfies
Bharat Bhushan, a farmer from Lehrot, has become a model for other small farmers. Photo: Bharat Bhushan

“I seriously started lavender farming in 2010, as an experiment, due to the encouragement of the Indian Institute of Medicine. [IIIM] Jammu, “says Bhushan.” It is easy to grow, and does not require much irrigation. I used cow dung as fertilizer. In two years, he was earning four times as much as growing corn.

“Seeing my success, a lot of people followed it and now more than 500 farmers in the area, who are part of the self-help groups, are engaged in this occupation. I set up two nurseries to spread lavender plants. The village has become a center for lavender production and migration, “says Bhushan, who has also installed machinery to extract oil from lavender flowers.

“The best thing about growing lavender is that many women in the villages who are not allowed to work away from home are encouraged to grow lavender around their homes because it is profitable. And that makes them self-sufficient. “

“Domestic demand for lavender oil is high, and we sell distilled oil directly to industrial consumers in Indian cities like Mumbai and Delhi. We also sell dried lavender for potpourri, sachets and flower arrangements, and hydrosol. Which is formed after being extracted from flowers, which were used to make soap and room wires.

Bhushan was impressed by a video conference with the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), which launched the Fragrance Mission in 2016, and encouraged such farmers. Encouraged whose economy was affected by the climate emergency, such as growing crops. Such as lavender, rosemary and lemongrass, and medicinal plants Ashwagandha, Also known as Indian gensing وٹھانیا سومنیفرا. It provides cuttings, helps set up a slowdown unit for a herd of 50 farmers, checks oil quality and helps find buyers.

Inspecting the lavender crop in the hills of northern India
Inspecting lavender in northern India. This plant, known as a crop in the Mediterranean countries, likes a lot of sun but needs a little water. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Jatinder Singh

“Lavender is a crop of Europe, but it was introduced by the CSIR expedition in Doda, Kishtwar and Rajouri districts in the violent areas of the state,” said Samit Gervola, a senior scientist at the institute. “In 2017, five labs were set up across India to help cultivate 20 medicinal and aromatic crops in 6,000 hectares. [15,000 acres] All over India.

He says the easy-growing properties of lavender are popular with farmers. “The income from lavender farming is much better than from crops like maize. One hectare of land can produce 30 to 45 liters of lavender oil, which is in high demand for essential essential oils.

Many farmers in Kashmir are starting to cultivate the crop and often cultivate it along with apple orchards. Recently, CSIR announced the expansion of the Fragrance Mission with the participation of farmers from other northern states like Uttarakhand, Nagaland and Assam, so purple flowers could soon become a common sight across India.

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