The fields of Bhaderwah in Jammu’s Doda district are blushing in purple colour, thanks to the Lavender farming in full bloom here.
A huge transformation in recent years has led to over 2,000 farmers switching from traditional crops like maize to cultivating lavender. Lavender farming has emerged as a more profitable alternative to traditional crops, and has revolutionized the agricultural landscape of the region.
Lavender is a popular flowering plant, famous for its vibrant purple colour and pleasant fragrance. The plant is relatively easy to grow, requires little maintenance, and has a low gestation period. Moreover, lavender can be harvested from the second year of plantation onwards, and a single plant can give flowers for up to 15 years. Lavender requires less water than traditional crops like maize, and is less susceptible to pests and diseases, making it a more sustainable and eco-friendly farming practice.
Lavender offers higher returns that crops like maize grown earlier. Farmers in Bhaderwah have reported earning up to Rs. 6-7 lakhs per hectare from lavender farming, This is a significant jump from maize farming income that hovered around Rs. 50,000-60,000 per hectare. Now 4000 kanals of land is under Lavender farming here with more and more farmers joining the bandwagon every year.
While lavender is relatively easy to grow, farmers need to keep a few things in mind to ensure successful cultivation. Lavender requires well-draining soil and full sun, and does not tolerate waterlogging. Farmers should water the plant sparingly and prune it after the first year of cultivation to keep it healthy and promote growth.
Lavender oil is the most valuable product of lavender farming and is used in a wide range of personal care products. The oil is known for its calming and relaxing properties and is used in soaps, shampoos, and lotions. It is also used in aromatherapy, scented candles, and essential oils.
The global market for lavender oil is expected to reach USD 76.34 million by 2025, growing at a CAGR of 6.9% from 2020 to 2025. The growing demand for lavender products presents an opportunity for farmers to diversify their income streams. In addition to selling lavender oil, farmers can also produce a range of lavender-based products like soaps, lotions, and candles, helping them earn higher profits and reduce their dependence on traditional crops.
Lavender farming has numerous benefits for both the environment and the farmers who grow it. Lavender can thrive in dry, arid conditions, preventing soil erosion and desertification apart from needing less water for irrigation. Lavender is a natural insect repellent, which means that it doesn't require the use of harmful pesticides. Lavender has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties, and the oil extracted from the plant is used in a wide variety of personal care products.
The success of Lavender farming is supported by the Aroma Mission of the government which has supported these farmers to diversify and reap rich dividends. This model of Purple Revolution has been a hit also as the weather conditions in Jammu’s hilly areas are conducive to the cultivation of Lavender.
Richa Jain Kalra is a seasoned editor who has been a leading news anchor on national television for over 18 years. She is a master communicator driven by the purpose of making a positive impact on society.