Scientists from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) might soon help farmers from a small border district in Kathua in Jammu — which has been grappling with cross-border firing lately — take up the cultivation of aromatic plants that can be exported.
The Jammu Kashmir Arogya Gram Yojana — launched by the science and technology minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday has been designed to benefit farmers from far-flung areas, who have land holdings in terrains where the yield of traditionally-grown crops is disproportionately low. Land with the potential for growing aromatic plants will be identified and CSIR scientists and aroma experts will educate and train local farmers to take up this cultivation. The government will initially spend over Rs 25 crores on this scheme.
Saplings will be provided by IIIM Jammu and scientific guidance will be rendered by a team of experts from five different CSIR labs. Some plants selected for this project include lemon grass (Cymbopogon), rose (Rosa), mint (Mentha), Ashwagandha (Withaniasomnifera) and Phalsa fruit plant. “We will start this programme from Jammu and then move on to other states. To begin with 1,000 villages of Jammu will be covered under this scheme. The process for identifying the villages has begun,” Singh said.
Maintaining that net profit for the farmers will be Rs 1-1.5 lakh per annum per hectare (2.4 acre) he said, “Besides enabling the farmers to make a significant contribution to nation’s aromatic produce, it will also help generate economy for them.”