In order to get a 6-day residential training for cultivating and processing medicinal and aromatic plants in the hilly regions, a group of 30 horticulturists from Bhattiyat development block in district Chamba, Himachal Pradesh, today left for CSIR-Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CSIR-CIMAP), Lucknow, under the Mehak scheme being run by the state government. Kirpal Singh Chambiyal, subject matter specialist, horticulture, district, Chamba and Vineet Kumar, horticulture development officer flagged off the group of farmers. The training programme is managed and executed by Development Foundation and Rural Access.
You may also like to read – Incentivising agri-seed research & development is key to food security: Study
These farmers are currently cultivating wild marigolds in the Bhattiyat development block. At this time, many farmers who are troubled by the attacks of monkeys have stopped cultivating wild marigolds. However, the cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants is a good option for their livelihoods.
With the technical support and guidance from the CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT), Palampur, the farmers are successfully cultivating wild marigolds at higher altitudes above 1100 metres in the block. This has resulted in higher demand for oil extracted from the wild marigold.
You may also like to read – India’s carbon footprint from marine fisheries is much lower than global level: Study
Currently, over 300 farmers are cultivating wild marigolds and producing about 300 kg of oil. According to the officials, the farmers are earning Rs.12000 to 14,000 per kg price from the oil which is fetching higher profits to them than other crops.
Under the Mehak scheme, the Himachal Pradesh government provides grants of up to 75 per cent for cultivating various types of crops.