Farmers in western Uttar Pradesh, particularly the Moradabad division, have taken to cultivation of medicinal crops in a big way.
Under the medicinal crop scheme, the government provides almost 30 per cent discount to farmers.
According to Harjeet Singh, an official in the Horticulture Department, farmers were earning well by switching to the cultivation of medicinal crops like basil, asparagus and aloe vera.
"The aloe vera crop, costs around Rs 56,000 per hectare and the government gives Rs 16,000 to the farmer directly through the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme," the official said.
He further said that as per the target, asparagus will be grown in 35 hectares, basil in 55 hectares and aloe vera in 20 hectares. Many farmers have already switched to farming of medicinal crops, even without the government aid, because the monetary returns were greater.
The official said that more and more farmers were switching to medicinal crop farming in the region due to higher returns.
Farmers too have expressed satisfaction with the changed farming practices over the traditional ones.
Radhey Lal, a farmer said: "I have sown asparagus in 19 bighas, 12 bighas of tulsi and 16 bigahs of kalmegh (green chireta). These crops will be sold for the production of traditional herbal medicines. They are sold in big cities like Delhi and Aligarh where production of medicine takes place. I am happy with the returns."
Another farmer, Rajiv Singh, said that he had switched to medicinal crops since it brought in better returns.
He explained how farming of medicinal crops helps farmers in multiple ways.
"Medicinal crops are now been cultivated in almost 120 hectares in the district. The crop has multiple uses -- for instance, the seeds of basil, its oil and even its branches are sold. Likewise, aloe vera too is demanded in huge quantities these days as its consumption has increased throughout the country and it fetches good prices too," he said.
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