In these tough times for agriculture in Northern belt on account of non-remunerative returns and increasing incidences of crop loss owing to wild animals, Himachal Pradesh is flexing its flower power.
It has become the largest producer of high quality wild marigold essential oil (4 tonnes per annum) in the country to meet the demand of perfume, flavouring, and condiment industries.
The CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (IHBT), Palampur in the Himalayan State is doing its bit in this regard by helping and training farmers introduce high value aromatic crops such as wild marigold, damask rose, lavender, rosemary, lemongrass and mushkbala under CSIR Aroma mission.
Dr Sanjay Kumar, Director, CSIR-IHBT said to promote cultivation of these aromatic crops among the farmers, a complete package of agro and processing technologies has been developed and executed in the farmers’ fields to help them realize the profits.
In fact, in the last two years, CSIR-IHBT has brought more than 500 hectares area under these crops. Cultivation of wild marigold has resulted in the production of 7.6 tonnes of essential oil in Himachal Pradesh alone with revenue generation of Rs. 5.56 crores benefitting 861 farmers. Different small societies of progressive farmers have been formed in different states by CSIR-IHBT. Nineteen processing units have been set up for these societies to empower the farmers for production of essential oils, said Dr Kumar.
Aromatic crops are widely cultivated around the world due to its high-revenue earning essential oil which is utilized in agrochemical, food, flavoring, perfumery and pharmaceutical industry like wound healing and treatment of eczema, diaper rash, psoriasis and for skin ointment. Increasing demand of natural personal care products and aromatic cleansing agents is also favouring the essential oil market.
“The global essential oils market demand was 226.9 thousand tons in 2018 and projected to expand at a CAGR of 8.6% from 2019 to 2025. To promote cultivation of these aromatic crops among the farmers, a complete package of agro and processing technologies has been developed and executed in the farmers’ fields to help them realize the profits.