REASI: The cultivation of Lemon grass has become a new profitable venture for the farmers of Reasi district as the oil extracted from it has huge demand in the market.
The commercial cultivation of the lemon grass is also helping the farmers of Katra area to prevent the losses caused by monkeys, which has become a menace there.
The monkey menace had compelled farmers to shun the agricultural practices and keep their cultivable lands fallow thus resulting in net loss to their income.
Sensing the gravity of the problem, the Department of Agriculture Reasi in coordination with the KVK Reasi and Indian Institute of Medicine Jammu have organized a workshop to aware the progressive farmers about the crops that Monkeys cannot damage. It was in the year 2017 when KVK Reasi in coordination with Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP)-Lucknow and Indian Institute of Integrative Medicines (IIIM)-Jammu introduced lemongrass farming in the Katra belt.
The motive behind the introduction of lemon grass in the areas affected by the monkey menace was that it is not affected by the monkeys and other animals and fetches huge returns if grown on commercial scale.
Motivated by its benefits, Tilak Raj and some other farmers of the area took up the cultivation of lemongrass and found it very lucrative.
Seeing their successes many other farmers are coming forward to take up the cultivation of the lemongrass farming as the area is severely affected by the monkeys. Tilak Raj is also contemplating to bring more land area under the lemongrass cultivation. Lemongrass oil has tremendous market in Reasi district with numerous hotels and restaurants operating in the area to cater to huge footfall of pilgrim tourists in Katra throughout the year.
To promote the cultivation of this lucrative crop, the district administration Reasi hosted special fair Kushboo Kisan Mela in Aghar Jitto Panchayat during the recently concluded Government’s ambitious Back to Village Program.
“The Mela was organized with the twin purposes of encouraging the farmers to take up its cultivation and provide a platform for Buyer-seller meet,” said Deputy Commissioner Reasi, Indu Kanwal Chib.
During this Mela 50 more farmers have come forward for growing lemon grass in the fallow lands to overcome the dent that monkey menace has caused to their income.
Sharing his experience at the Khusboo Mela, Raj Kumar said that the cultivation of lemongrass requires very less investment of labour and money as compared to the cultivation of other crops. “And after four months, when the crop is ready for harvesting, it is worth lakhs” said Raj Tilak with a smile. He urged the other farmers to go for lemon grass cultivation to earn handsome returns without the fear of loss due to monkeys.