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Admin sanctions Rs 62 crore project for commercial cultivation, conservation of J&K’s herbal riches

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Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Friday announced a pioneering project envisaging total transformation in the landscape of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) cultivation in the Union Territory.

With a budget of Rs 62 crore, the five-year project aims to cultivate MAPs on 5,000 kanal of land spread across 28 clusters, with a potential to create more than 3,000 jobs and 28 enterprises, an official spokesman said.

He said the MAP sector is estimated to contribute about Rs 75 crore every year after five years and the amount is expected to exceed Rs 783 crore by the year 2037. “This ambitious project marks a significant transition from traditional, wild extraction-based practices to a more sustainable, modern approach to MAP cultivation, conservation, and entrepreneurship.”

“The mission of this project is to achieve commercial production of MAPs outside the forests, promote organic farming, and develop local and international markets besides boosting advanced scientific knowledge through insightful research,” the spokesman said.

He said the initiative also aims to promote the cultivation and conservation of MAPs, promote organic farming and standardization, provide special facilities for primary processing, preserve intellectual property rights, educate cultivators on the best practices, and undertake research to develop new herbal formulations and drugs.

“There are a number of MAPs that are unique to our agro-climate and offer immense potential for employment and exports. The demand for herbal drugs and cosmetics is growing both domestically and internationally while MAPs extracted from forests put pressure on biodiversity besides pushing many plant species on the verge of extinction”, Additional Chief Secretary, Agriculture Production Department, Atal Dulloo said.

He said J&K has 129 hectare of cultivable wasteland, of which, only two per cent shall be used for MAP cultivation.

“Additionally, farmers who adopt MAP cultivation can expect to see a 30-40 per cent increase in their agricultural income,” he said.

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