CSIR_IIIM Jammu in collaboration with SKAUST Kashmir Saturday conducted awareness cum orientation program for farmers on aromatic crops, with an objective of promoting cultivation, post harvest management and process of high value aroma cash crop.
The program organised by CSIR- Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines Jammu and Sher-e-Kashmir University of Agriculture Science and Technology, Kashmir at Government Degree College Sopore saw a huge participation of farmers from various areas of North Kashmir.
Addressing the farmers, Dr. Qazi Parvaiz Dar, nodal officer of the project pointed out that though 8 to 10 lakh aromatic plants were distributed till 2017 but we are still in demand of some 500 metric tonnes of aromatic production.
“We have Karewas in parts of North Kashmir where we can cultivate such cash crops. The need of the hour is to shift our focus towards cultivation of aromatic crops and develop ourselves in every aspect. Instead of pulses, grains let us give such crops also a try where you have least or no chances of loss,” Dr Qazi Parvaiz said.
Enthusiastic farmers listened carefully to the speakers who deliberated upon the schemes, target crops, mission and services provided by the state and central government to the farmers.
The speakers deliberated upon the farmers that large scale production of these crops is needed in our valley for overall growth of a farmer. Farmers were exhaustively informed about the cultivation, harvest, market value and production and distillation process of the aromatic crops in the program.
Dr. Qazi Parvaiz Dar, Dr. Shahid Rasool, Principal GDC Sopore and other dignitaries were present on the occasion. After the culmination of the program, the farmers were taken to Natnusa Kupwara for on spot visit of the aroma crop fields.
Researchers from the institute said that demand of the aromatic oil is very much high but in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, we are unable to produce even 10 litres on a yearly basis. However, at some places people attached with the production are doing well.
Dr. Shahid Rasool while speaking to the farmers said that these are industrial crops which will not only help the state in employment generation but these products have a high end medicinal and market value.
He said that such crops neither need spray of agro chemicals nor much man power, hence are easy to cultivate and suppressed on the need of large scale production of aromatic crops.
“We have lavender, rose merry, mints, aromatic grasses, rose as target crops through which we can have mass production of oil and flowers. We can later use that for processing or value addition at tech park Handwara, a project which has been initiated by Sajad Lone, ,” Dr. Shahid said.
While praising the efforts made by Minister of Science and Technology Sajad Lone, Dr. Shahid said that such projects will change the overall concept of agriculture in Kashmir.
“Industrial Biotech Park in Handwara, couldn’t have been possible without the efforts of Sajad Lone and we hope that it will prove useful for farmers of the area. The production under this aroma mission will be used for value addition at Industrial Biotech Park in Handwara. And this aroma mission will open up new avenues for unemployed youth, establishing new start ups and industrial units. There is a huge demand of such products, it is a demand based industry,” Dr. Shahid said.
Talking on the sidelines of the program Dr. Shahid said that aromatic crop production is a huge industry as such oils are not produced by all the countries, although it is consumed by all the countries.
He said that Kashmir has a potential to cultivate and produce such aromatic crops and the oil produced by these crops can be used as value addition in high end cosmetics, high end perfumes, health care and other things.
A speaker at the function said that it is a meaningful and strategic effort by central government through its agencies like CSIR IIM and SKAUST and are now implementing in the state of J&K. He said that 40 thousand kanals of land have to be covered in the state of Jammu and Kashmir under this mission.
Mohammad Aslam Parray, a resident of Ujara Langate said the speakers informed us exhaustively about the crops but need of hour is that this scheme should be provided as soon as possible to the farmers.
“I came here all along from Ujara Langate to listen to them and here what I need is their support. It should be given to us in minimum possible time so that we cultivate such cash crops in our fileds,” said Aslam Parray who is a farmer by profession.