More farmers take up rosemary cultivation in Talavadi hills

High altitude favours crops like marigold and rosemary herbs.

January 22, 2022 12:09 pm | Updated 01:10 pm IST - ERODE

Rosemary cultivated at a farm land in Talavadi Hills in Erode district of Tamil Nadu.

Rosemary cultivated at a farm land in Talavadi Hills in Erode district of Tamil Nadu.

With rosemary herb cultivation yielding substantial income, more farmers are involved in raising the crop in Talavadi hills in the district.

Farming is the major activity in the hill area that is 120 km away from Erode and is located along the border with Karnataka. Traditionally, cabbage, onion, beans, tomato, beetroot, cauliflower, chowchow, tapioca, ivy gourd and other gourd varieties are widely cultivated in the hill. Since the hill is located at an altitude of 823 metres above the sea level favouring these crops, marigold and rosemary herb was also cultivated in a minimum area in all these years.

P. Alagesan, Senior Scientist and Head, ICAR-KVK,MYRADA, Gobichettipalayam and his team have been conducting trails on Rosemary, Stevia, Geranium, Citronella and Eucalyptus in the hill area since 2007. Trails found Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) to be more suitable and economically beneficial to the farmers. The oil extracted from the herb is used as a component in pharmaceutical and cosmetic products while it has a good export market in European countries.

In the last eight years, area under cultivation increased from 50 acre to about 300 acre and is seen as an alternative crop. Since wild animals keep themselves away from the crop, farmers prefer cultivating rosemary, said Mr. Alagesan. He said that the average yield per acre is 10 tonnes of fresh leaf while dry leaf is two tonnes per year. The market price of two tonnes of dry leaf is ₹3 lakh, he said.

Rosemary is perennial in nature, highly remunerative and can withstand drought conditions and hence more farmers prefer rosemary, the scientist added.

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