Jammu and Kashmir has seen an increased focus on boosting floriculture since it became a union territory last year.
Syed Altaf Aijaz Andrabi, Director, Agriculture, Kashmir said the government is making efforts towards crop diversification and enhancing the income of the farmers.
“There is no problem with money. The government is providing the best financial assistance to the agriculture sector. Through floriculture, the government is working for diversification of crops for the benefit of farmers and giving sustainability to their incomes,” Andrabi told ANI.
He said oil extraction plant set up at Lal Mandi in Srinagar will provide value addition to floriculture.
“The plant incorporates latest international technology and will help the farmers and floriculture sector,” he said.
This oil extraction plant was inaugurated recently at directorate office of the Agriculture Department in Srinagar and experts demonstrated oil extraction to flower-loving people.
Fida Iqbal, Floriculture Development Scheme Officer, said they extract oil from rose, lavender and other flowers at the oil extraction plant.
“Lavender is a commercial crop and many farmers are growing it on a large scale. We have covered farmers of Budgam, Kupwara, Srinagar and Pulwama districts and they can use this extraction plant,” he said.
He said flowers lose their aromatic quality during transportation to large distances and the plant will help be of great help.
The floriculture sector has a lot of potential but people have not been able to reap proper benefits due to inadequate infrastructure. The oil extraction plant will help young entrepreneurs and flower growers.
Mohamad Shafi, a progressive flower grower, said the government has taken a good step by setting up the plant. “Kashmir is known for flowers. It is a good decision by the government to set up an oil extraction plant here. People can grow these flowers and can increase their income,” he said.
Ghulam Mohamad Baba, an employee at the oil extraction plant, said it will motivate youth to take to floriculture in a bigger way.
“I want to thank the government for starting the oil extraction plant here for the first time. It will give hope to youth,” he said.
Some flowers have good medicinal value apart from aromatic value and oil extraction plant is a big boon for people engaged in floriculture.
The centrally sponsored schemes aimed to promote floriculture and agriculture in the valley are helping people increase their incomes.