Improved medicinal, aromatic crop varieties to help get better yield

Coimbatore: Farmers interested in cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants will now be able to access improved varieties of crops like lemongrass, vetiver and palmarose at any TNAU station across Tamil Nadu. They will also have access to a distillation unit within the state where they can extract oil from grass, which will fetch them a higher price in the market.
The planting stock of the improved crops will include latest varieties of vetiver—Dharini and Vridhi, varieties of lemongrass—Krishna and Shikhar and a variety of palmarosa. “These new improved varieties, which were developed by the CSIR—Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Lucknow, are known to give a better yield and provide a higher quantity of essential oils during extraction,” said T Rajamani, head of the medicinal plants department at TNAU.

CIMAP and TNAU signed an MOU on Tuesday, by which TNAU will help CIMAP implement its aroma and phytopharmaceutical mission in Tamil Nadu. CIMAP will provide planting stock of the above varieties to TNAU. “CIMAP will supply both multiplied ready-to-plant seedlings, seeds and some parent stocks, which scientists at TNAU will multiply,” said Rajamani. “Earlier farmers had to travel to Bangalore or Lucknow to buy seeds of these improved varieties,” he said. Both institutions will be involved in selecting farmers and in marketing the benefits of aromatic crop cultivation.

Besides, CIMAP has agreed to set up small distillation units for every aromatic plant cultivation cluster, with a capacity of around 1 tonne, in Tamil Nadu. “This will help farmers bring their produce or grass, extract oil from a unit themselves, and sell it in the market, which will fetch them a better price than just the crop produce,” said Rajamani. “We will also help people buying these oils get connected to the farmers cultivating the crops,” he said.

CIMAP aims to increase the area under medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation to 5,000 hectares within the next three years. “The area currently under aromatic plants cultivation is hardly 300 to 400 hectares in Tamil Nadu and is scattered around Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Udumalpet and a few other locations,” said Rajamani.

The aroma and phytopharmaceutical mission, started in 2016, aims to boost cultivation of aromatic crops like lavender, rosemary, lemongrass and medicinal plants like ashwagandha and satavar, which are in high demand in the aroma business and traditional Indian systems of medicine. Through this they wanted to reduce India’s import of these essential oils and give farmers in rural areas alternative option with medicinal plants. “Crops like lemongrass are drought resistant and grow easily,” said Rajamani.

Get latest news & live updates on the go on your pc with . Download The for your device. in English and other languages.