|Early times Report|
Jammu, July 10: Lavender growers in the mountainous districts of Doda and Kishtwar have appealed to the Jammu and Kashmir administration to frame policies and introduce technology to augment lavender flower production in the hilly region to give the domestic industry a boost.
Lavender is believed to be a hard crop and grown for the production of its essential oil, which comes from the distillation of the flower spikes of certain lavender species.
The oil has cosmetic uses and is believed to have some medicinal uses as well.
The farmers, who are growing lavender under the Union Government’s Aroma Mission, feels that by adopting farming of unconventional aromatic plants, they are on the path of fulfilling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s dream of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
Being a perennial flower, lavender as per experts can be grown once in a year and bear flowers for 12 to 15 years.
“Lavender flowers take around 8 to 12 months to bloom fully and Kishtwar, Doda regions are its best producers because of cold climatic conditions which are must for this crop,” an expert from J&K Floriculture Department here told UNI.
He said that once planted, it becomes bushy in few months and its cuttings can further be used in growing the crop, he said adding, “Lavender is being imported in India from Europe but it is naturally grown in these hilly terrains and needs attention of the government.”
A native crop of Europe, lavender was introduced by Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine in the temperate regions of the Jammu division under CSIR-Aroma Mission in 2018 and tried to popularize it in Doda, Kishtwar and Rajouri districts.
“We are producing lavender oil in locally made refineries through distillation process, which is being sold at Rs 9000 to 10,000 per kg in the market,” he said and expressed that left out water during in entire process goes waste, which is of high use.
Products like lavender soap, incense sticks (agarbatti), floor disinfectants, room fresheners, can be produced out of this “waste water”, he expressed and said, “but, we do not have a technology to set up domestic industries and make use of this water, which can generate revenue and also the employment to many.”
According to experts, unlike many other seasonal crops, producers can dry lavender for ornamental flower arrangements, wands, sachets or potpourri, or transform the dried flowers into value-added products such as essential oils, tinctures, soaps or lotions.