Jammu- In a major boost to the agriculture industry, the Jammu and Kashmir government will undertake medicinal and aromatic plant (MAP) cultivation on 625 hectares of land with potential output worth Rs 750 crore, officials said.
This is one of the 29 projects costing Rs 5,013 crore based on the principles of economy, equity and ecology, which have the potential to herald a new phase of farmer prosperity and livelihood security in J&K, they said.
“There is going to be a new dawn in medicinal and aromatic plant cultivation in Jammu and Kashmir. As many as 5,000 kanals (625 hectares) of land will be brought under the cultivation of MAPs,” Additional Chief Secretary Agriculture Production Department Atal Dulloo told PTI here.
The project has an output potential of Rs 750 crore. The Himalayas in Jammu and Kashmir have an immense wealth of about 1,123 plant species of medicinal and aromatic value, Dulloo said.
The current global herbal trade stands approximately at USD 120 billion and is expected to reach USD 7 trillion by 2050, he noted.
“The current MAP output from J&K is only Rs 2 lakh as very little cultivation is being done in the sector. Availability is mostly gathering based from forest areas with little regard to conservation,” the ACS said.
There is a huge chunk of cultivable wasteland in J&K, which has the potential to be brought under MAP cultivation.
Dulloo said the MAP is unique to our agro-climate that offers great potential for employment and export.
“As many as six MAP germplasm banks and 2 field centres will be established under the project”, he added.
He said that harvesting and post-harvest management will also involve aggregation of produce from cluster groups of farmers, its primary processing and value addition.
Branding and marketing with product diversification, certification and establishing market linkages and digital marketing will be part of it.
He also said that the department will also have R&D through the establishment of the “centre of excellence on herbal technology”.
Giving details about key outputs, he said that targets have been fixed for sectoral growth at Rs 74.76 crore for the next five years and potential growth of 783 crore in 15 years.
He further said that 1-2 MAP farmer-producer clusters per district will be set up with a total target of 28 clusters. It will strengthen the agricultural economy, reduce stress on forest biodiversity and reduce value chain losses.
There will be an estimated 3,000 trained manpower and skilled youth in the sector and have quality products, patents and designs, Dulloo added. (PTI)