Purple Revolution Unfolds in Kashmir Himalayas (E)
A `Purple Revolution’ is unfolding in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Cultivation of Lavender as a new aroma crop is fast catching up in the Kashmir Himalayas. Lavender is a big hit in the global perfume industry. India was not growing much lavender earlier. It is only in the last few years, CSIR has started extending Lavender farming. The aromatic oil extracted from the flowers can sell for more than Rs 10,000 per kg. The lavender plant has now been naturalised for India. It is a hardy plant that can grow on degraded soils. In addition, resistant pests & diseases. Once grown it starts yielding lavender oil by the third year and can last for up two decades as it is a hardy perennial. The purple blooms give the fields a characteristic purple hue and it is these inflorescences that yield the oil after simple hydro steam distillation which is widely used in high-end perfumes, soaps, and even food items. Lavender oil is also used in aromatherapy. For the same acreage, farmers can earn up to five times more returns by cultivating lavender. This rapidly expanding high-value crop also offers an opportunity for holistic development of Kashmir, through gainful employment of the vulnerable educated unemployed youth. India today is a net importer of lavender oil and through its extension activities the CSIR's Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine, Jammu targets to make India a net exporter of Lavender oil.