Uttarakhand government is planning to launch a scheme for forest panchayats that could revolutionize the state. The government is bringing a ₹628 crore project for the panchayats to work in the field of aroma and herbal. The unique feature of this 10-year project is that it will empower more than 11,000 forest panchayats with a significant investment.
A 10-year action plan has been prepared for 11,230 forest panchayats in Uttarakhand. The project aims to strengthen forest panchayats in the area of herbal and aroma. A budget of ₹628 crore will be spent on the project. During this time, more than 11,000 forest panchayats will be able to take over the rights of conservation and promotion of more than 1,600 herbs, as well as their extraction.
In the first phase, more than 200 panchayats will be added to the project, and herbal and aroma gardens will be developed in these panchayats. After this, the rest of the panchayats will also be gradually connected to this project.
Benefits of the Project
The project has the potential to benefit millions of people in Uttarakhand. It will:
- Create new employment opportunities for the youth, especially in rural areas.
- Increase tourism in these panchayats, as people will be drawn to the natural beauty of the region and the opportunity to learn about herbal and aroma cultivation.
- Provide a direct market for the products of forest panchayats, which will increase their incomes and improve their livelihoods.
- Promote sustainable development and environmental conservation.
Why is Herbal and Aroma Production a Good Fit for Forest Panchayats?
One of the major challenges faced by farmers in Uttarakhand is crop damage by wild animals. However, wild animals are generally averse to aroma and herbal plants. Therefore, the cultivation of aroma and herbal plants in forest panchayats is a viable solution for farmers in the region.
In addition, the cultivation of aroma and herbal plants requires relatively less land and water than traditional crops, making it a suitable option for smallholder farmers in Uttarakhand.
Demand for Aroma and Herbal Products
There is a huge demand for aroma and herbal products at the national and international levels. The global market for aroma and herbal products is estimated to be worth over $200 billion. India is a major producer and exporter of aroma and herbal products, accounting for over 20% of the global market.
The Uttarakhand government is committed to promoting the production and export of aroma and herbal products. The government is providing a number of incentives to farmers and entrepreneurs to invest in the sector.
The Uttarakhand government is providing a number of support measures to forest panchayats under the new project. These include:
- Training and support on the cultivation, processing, and marketing of aroma and herbal products.
- Provision of high-quality seeds and planting material.
- Financial assistance for the development of herbal and aroma gardens.
- Market linkages for the sale of aroma and herbal products.
- The project is expected to generate over 1 lakh jobs in the state.
- The project will also help to reduce poverty and improve the overall quality of life in rural areas.
- The Uttarakhand government is planning to develop a number of aroma and herbal parks in the state to promote tourism and generate revenue.
- The government is also working to develop a number of value-added products from aroma and herbal plants, such as essential oils, herbal teas, and cosmetics.