Lavandula spica commonly known as Lavender, a purple blossomed aromatic shrub, is grown in all the 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir, and on the hill slopes in Himachal Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. However, few people may know that this commercial crop in India owes its origin to a research centre in Pulwama.
Dr Shahid Rasool, senior scientist at Field station CSIR-IIIM Bonera says Pulwama district is mother of this farming activity. He added that these commercial crops were taken from this farm to other regions.
“It was from this farm that Lavender has been transported to other parts of India including Dehradun, Ladakh, Bhaderwah, Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Budgam and Anantnag; where -ever Lavender is grown in countryside it has been transported from Pulwama,” he said,
“Pulwama is the birth place of commercial expansion of Lavender across the country,” he added.
The scientist informed Rising Kashmir that Lavender is not a native species of Kashmir. He credited Dr Akhter Hussain, a scientist of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for introducing Lavender in Kashmir.
“He (Dr Hussain) brought a few plants of Lavender from Bulgaria in 1970; he raised those plants on this farm and gradually improved their number,” Shahid said, adding that he too has been working on the expansion of this crop since 2007.
He added that the field station of CSIR-IIIM Bonera is playing a pivotal role in Lavender expansion. This aromatic bush is cultivated for obtaining Lavender oil, Lavender water and hydrosol.
Annually, around 500 kilograms of Lavender is produced at Bonera, a kilogram selling at Rs 10,000.
Lavender oil is used in aromatherapy; it promotes relaxation and is believed to treat anxiety, fungal infections, allergies, depression, insomnia, eczema, nausea and menstrual cramps.
The Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of India, has been working on expansion of Lavender through CSIR’s Aroma Mission.
Through this Mission launched in a phased manner around 46 aspirational districts across the country were covered for Lavender cultivation. The aim was to provide livelihood to budding farmers and agri-entrepreneurs and give boost to start up India Campaign.