Doda (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], May 27 (ANI): Union Minister of Science and Technology Jitendra Singh inaugurated India's first 'Lavender Festival' in Bhaderwah on Thursday.
Addressing the event, Singh said, "Bhaderwah is the potential destination of agri-tech startups of the country. Lavender Festival in the valley of Bhaderwah is the best example of the development of the present progressive government at the centre. Bhaderwah is the best place for lavender cultivation in terms of land and climate."
The Minister said that the development prospects of PM Modi-led government for the far-flung areas like Bhaderwah can also be judged from the fact that the country's first National Institute of High Altitude Medicine is being built in Bhaderwah which will attract scholars and researchers not only from India but across the globe generating employment opportunities for the region.
Referring to the lavender cultivation in the region, Singh said "Lavender is an avenue of employment generation and research opening many paradigms of development for the region."
He further said that the agriculturist Bharat Bhushan called the Brand Ambassador of Purple Revolution in India is an inspiration for youth in J-K towards startup culture.
The Minister also inaugurated six distillation units under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) for lavender situated at six different places.
Three MoUs were also signed between CSIR-IIIM Jammu with Agro Voltic Power, Mussoorie Uttarakhand, Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar Punjab and Fine Fragrance Power Limited, Mumbai.
The Lavender Festival in Bhaderwah is being attended by scientists, technologists, progressive Farmers and agri-entrepreneurs drawn from different parts of the country including Jammu and Kashmir.
CSIR-AROMA Mission, under the Ministry of Science and Technology aims to develop and disseminate aroma-related science and technology to reach the end-user/clients of CSIR: Farmers, industry and society.
According to the Ministry of Science and Technology, Aroma Mission is attracting startups and agriculturists from across the country, and during Phase-I, CSIR helped in the cultivation on 6,000 hectares of land and covered 46 Aspirational districts across the country. More than 44,000 people have been trained and several crores of farmers' revenue generated.
In the second Phase of the Aroma Mission, it is proposed to engage over 45,000 skilled human resources with the aim of benefitting more than 75,000 farming families across the country.
CSIR-IIIM introduced lavender to farmers in Doda, Rama, Kishtwar, Kathua, Udhampur, Rajouri, Pulwama, Anantnag, Kupwara and Bandipora districts. It provided free quality planting material and end-to-end technology package for cultivation, processing, value addition and marketing of the Lavender crop to the farmers.
CSIR-IIIM also installed 50 distillation units -- 45 fixed and five mobile -- at different locations across J-K under CSIR-Aroma Mission.
Lavender cultivation has employed about 5,000 farmers and young entrepreneurs in geographically remote areas of J-K. More than 1,000 farming families are cultivating it on more than 200 acres. (ANI)