New Delhi [India], March 6 (ANI): The farmers of Chamba district in Himachal Pradesh, who traditionally grew crops like maize, paddy, and wheat, have greatly benefited from the cultivation and processing of aromatic plants.
The farmers now extract essential oil from the improved variety of wild marigold (Tagetes minuta) and the profits have nearly doubled their income.
The farmers who used to earn Rs 40,000 to 50,000 per hectare from traditional crops now earn about Rs. 1,00,000 per hectare from the cultivation and extraction of wild marigold oil.
The change in the fortune of the farmers has been brought about through interventions made by the Society for Technology and Development (STD), Mandi Core Support group, SEED Division, DST.
The STD initiated the cultivation and processing of aromatic plants in the farming community in technical collaboration with the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology - CSIR, Palampur, in Parwai village.
A self-help group (SHG) consisting of 40 farmers called Green Valley Kissan Sabha Parwai has been formed and linked to Himachal Gramin Bank in Parchhod for further financial help and a distillation unit of 250 kg capacity installed at Parwai village.
The farmers trained in agro-technology of wild marigold, extraction, packing, and storage started cultivating wild marigold and distilling oil from it. The extracted oil is sold at Rs 9,500 per kg and used in preparing perfumes and essences by pharmaceutical industries.
In another initiative, farmers have also improved pollination by adopting mud hive beekeeping technology which has enhanced apple production resulting in an increase in the income of apple growers 1.25 times.
A common facility centre (CFC) has been established in the village, and farmers have been trained in processing and packing honey. They are selling honey from Rs 500 to 600 per kg at the local level. (ANI)