Farmers in the Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh, keen for new livelihood options to supplement their income from traditional crops like maize, paddy, and wheat, have found a new lease of life.
Cultivation of aromatic plants has given them additional income. They have extracted essential oil from the improved variety of wild marigold (Tagetes minuta) that has been introduced, and the profit from wild marigold oil has doubled the income of farmers as compared to traditional maize, wheat and paddy crops.
A distillation unit of 250 kg capacity was installed at Parwai village and farmers trained into agro-technology of wild marigold, extraction of oil, packing, and storage of oil started cultivating wild marigold and distilling oil from it.
The extracted oil is being sold at Rs. 9500/kg and used in preparing perfumes and essences by pharmaceutical industries.