SRINAGAR: Kashmir must harness the potential of its vast aromatic plants to boost tourism besides generate business by harnessing the economic value of these crops in the aroma industry, experts said at the launch of Lavender festival organized by the Indian institute of Integrative Medicine (IIIM) Srinagar at Sanatnagar here
Dr Ramakant Harlalka, CEO Sankhubaba Pvt Limited, said that Kashmir farmers have switched to the cultivation of lavender and this not only has given a flip to the developing aroma industry, but it could surely add to tourist influx as such crop farm have the potential to pull tourists as is now a common feature in many European countries where even farmers conduct their own Lavender festivals.
He said that promoting tourism though flowers is gaining momentum in valley with Tulip, Saffron festivals now a common feature of the tourism calendar here, and adding lavender, rose and other aromatic crops will not only new feature, but can make travel to valley more attractive.
“Adding fragrance to a tourist’s journey will surely make his visit more memorable,” he said.
Harlalka said adding that once festivals are there it will certainly push the demand for the aromatic products sourced from these crops thus giving a flip to this sector as well
Dr Tej Pratp Vice chancellor SKUAST who inaugurated the festival said that Kashmir should use its lavender potential to invite more tourist, but the need to to explore real potential of several other aromatic plants that certainly can give valley edge over other competitors.
“Even though the market is vibrant for the lavender cultivation, but there is competition for lavender from other countries, and other high value aromatic crops need to be harnessed equally,” he said adding that IIIM must also promote some of the indigenous aromatic crops more vigorously.
He however, said that the success of aromatic crop plantation also needs to be well backed by a government policy where in farmers can go for massive plantations on larger land holdings.
Earlier Dr Ram Vishwakarma, Director of CSIR-IIIM said that institute has been at the fore front in delivering the technology and the necessary guidance to the farmers and entrepreneur involved in growing of aromatic crops, besides their value addition.
He said that the aim of the festival is to further boost these efforts that will future visits to several of the Institute experimental fields, besides guidance on growing and usage of lavender mostly extracting essential oil for use in perfume.
At the festival several entrepreneur have set their stalls featuring different products derived from these aromatic crops.