Jammu, Dec 9: Around 133 hectares of land have been brought under lemongrass cultivation in four districts of the Jammu region over the last couple of years, an official said.
In Jammu district, he said, the aromatic crop is yet to be introduced as the land in this district is by and large irrigable owing to which the farmers prefer sowing traditional crops of wheat, rice and maize over lemongrass.
“But there are certain areas where the problem of monkey menace and irrigation coexist. So, we’re mulling to introduce lemongrass in such areas in the coming future,” Chief Agriculture Officer (CAO) Jammu, Vinod Kunal told Rising Kashmir.
In Udhampur district, which is highly affected by monkey menace, the lemongrass crop is grown over an area of 40 hectares in the Tikri block comprising villages of Seen Thakran, Mand, Tikri, Muttal, Sundrani and Dhanoo.
“One lemongrass oil extraction unit has also been established in the district at Tikri,” CAO Udhampur, Sanjay Anand said.
Pertinently, the oil extraction unit is established free of cost either by the CSIR-IIIM Jammu or Agriculture Production Department when the net grown-over area of the crop is over 20 hectares.
In Kathua, the oil crop is grown over an area of 65 hectares, the highest in the Jammu region. The crop has been introduced in areas of Kathua, Hiranagar, Basohli and Bilawar.
“Two oil extraction units have been established in Basohli and Bilawar in Kathua District,” CAO Kathua, Sanjeev Rai said.
In Samba district, the oil crop has been introduced only in 2022, thus the net grown-over area is only 15 hectares in the district.
“The crop is grown in Purmandal and Rajpura areas. No oil extraction unit has been established in the district thus far,” CAO Samba, Sanjay Verma said.
In Reasi district, the net area under lemongrass cultivation is 13 hectares according to CAO concerned, Harbans Singh. According to him, the crop is thus far cultivated in Sirha, Sudheen, Pouni, Reasi, Painthal and Katra and two oil extraction units have been established in the district at Pouni and Sirha.
“We’re planning to increase the net sown area to 18 hectares by next year,” he said.
It is important to mention here that lemongrass oil has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. The oil is also rich in antioxidants and it is also used to treat gastric ulcers. The J&K government is promoting the cultivation of the oil crop in areas where the problem of water shortage and monkey menace exist.