Uttarakhand is blessed with a variety of soil types and varying agro-climatic conditions, ranging from sub-tropical to alpine. These zones are divided as alpine (above 3500 m), sub-alpine (2200-3500 m), temperate (1700-2200 m) and sub-tropical (350-1700 m above sea level). Further, these zones can be categorized as upper hills (alpine and sub-alpine), middle hills (temperate) and lower hills (sub-tropical) for agricultural point of view. These zones possess a rich and diverse variety of aromatic plant resources and these diverse climatic conditions of the state are conducive for cultivation of various aromatic crops.

Uttarakhand agriculture has some inherent constraints of remoteness and inaccessibility, marginality and fragility. Added to these are socio-economic constraints such as poor productivity, poor irrigation infrastructure, poor production management, labor shortages, poor post-production management, poor marketing and networks and lack of entrepreneurship. As a result, traditional agriculture has become un-economical and farmers have left out their agriculture and migrated to elsewhere for better livelihood and employment opportunities. This resulted in a large part of agriculture land in the hills are abundant. These abandoned lands were threatened with problems like soil erosion, loss of fertility, depletion of nutrients, less percolation of water in the soil, drying of natural water resources and infestation of obnoxious exotic weeds like Lantana, Eupatorium, Gania grass, Artemisia and Bhakumbar etc.

Considering the problems in traditional agriculture and other barriers, cultivation of aromatic crops seems to be a viable solution for raising the livelihood of the farmers of Uttarakhand, as aromatic crops are suitable for rain-fed agriculture and can be grown successfully in stress and adverse conditions. These crops are generally safe from wildlife and domestic animals.

The final product of aromatic produce is easy to transport due to its very lesser amount of weight as compared to its production in the field. This provides a solution to the transportation challenges in the hilly area. An aromatic oil can store for a longer period because of its non-perishable quality farmer can decide its sale as per the market demand and feasible rates above all aromatic oils have a regular market.

Establishment of Centre for Aromatic Plants (CAP)

“Centre for Aromatic Plants (CAP)” was established by Government of Uttarakhand in 2003 at industrial area Selaqui, Dehradun. CAP is a complete business incubator centre for the development of the aromatic sector in Uttarakhand. It is equipped with end to end facilities and support services like survey, training, research, production of quality planting material, extension, distillation and marketing etc. The focus is to make these all facilities available to the farmers, entrepreneurs, researcher, buyers, distillers, perfumers and traders under one roof.

Conceptual Framework 

CAP is working as a business incubator to support marginal farmers called Very Small Enterprises (VSEs). These farmers are availing services like technical training, quality planting materials, agro-technology, exposure visit, subsidies and supervision. With the facilitation of CAP these VSEs are doing cultivation, nursery raising and marketing of aromatic crops. At the cluster level, some farmers are identified as entrepreneurs called Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). To promote these entrepreneurs CAP is providing facilities like Field Distillation Units (FDUs), skill training, technical know-how, testing facility, storage, marketing etc to them. Through these training and various activities the skill of these entrepreneurs' farmers to produce quality essential oil and dealing with market leaders i.e. Oil Industries is developing. SMEs are facilitating VSEs to the distillation of aromatic produce as an essential oil. CAP is also facilitating the oil industry to link with SMEs for business activities

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