Meghalaya’s Aroma Mission Empowers Farmers and Promotes Sustainable Agriculture

Meghalaya’s Aroma Mission, launched in 2019 and led by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, has become a remarkable success story in the cultivation of aromatic plants. This flagship initiative aims to transform aromatic plants into valuable products while promoting sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices, with a focus on doubling farmers’ income and improving their livelihoods. During a visit to one of the Aroma Mission sites in Byrwa, the Chief Minister expressed satisfaction with the progress achieved in aromatic plant cultivation and the production of essential oils and natural repellents.The Aroma Mission operates thirteen essential oil distillation units in collaboration with women entrepreneurs. These units cultivate various plants such as Citronella, Lemon Grass, Turmeric, Vetiver, Winter Green, Geranium, and more. Notably, these plants thrive even in severely degraded lands, contributing to groundwater recharge, preventing soil erosion, and offering ecological benefits.In support of the Aroma Mission, the Chief Minister assured farmers involved in aromatic plant cultivation of the government’s unwavering assistance to scale up their enterprises. He encouraged them to share their future plans, emphasizing the government’s commitment to fostering collaboration among organizations for creating more value-added products from aromatic plants. To enhance the capabilities of the Byrwa unit, additional financial aid was announced for the purchase of machinery, and the cultivators are exploring new opportunities, such as extracting oil for perfume production.The Aroma Mission has achieved significant milestones in promoting aromatic plant cultivation in Meghalaya. Over 3,000 farmers across the state, covering 500 hectares of wasteland, have been supported through this mission. Ten essential aromatic plants suitable for Meghalaya’s agro-climatic conditions have been cultivated, and the mission aims to expand the area under aromatic plantations to 1,000 hectares. Wintergreen, lavender, damask rose, and wild marigold, classified as High-Value Crops, have been given priority.To ensure the production of value-added products like aromatic and essential oils, the Aroma Mission plans to establish more distillation facilities. The goal is to provide at least one field distillation unit for every 10 hectares of aromatic crop cultivation.The government of Meghalaya’s vision for the Aroma Mission goes beyond cultivation. It focuses on strengthening institutions and promoting holistic development in the aromatic plant sector. Through the formation of Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and cooperative societies, farmers are empowered to collectively engage in cultivation, marketing, and resource-sharing. This collaborative approach encourages peer learning, knowledge sharing, and sustainable agriculture.The Aroma Mission has made a significant impact on Meghalaya’s aromatic plant industry, achieving a production output of 4 metric tons. As a result, 3,000 farmers have directly benefited, experiencing improved livelihoods and income opportunities.Overall, Meghalaya’s Aroma Mission showcases the state’s commitment to empowering farmers, promoting sustainable agriculture, and harnessing the potential of aromatic plants. It serves as an exemplary model for rural development and the utilization of natural resources for economic growth

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