Medicinal and Aromatics

Great opportunities in Medicinal Plant Farming in India

Great opportunities in Medicinal Plant Farming in India

There are great opportunities in Medicinal Plant Farming, as there is a huge demand for the production of Ayurveda medicines in India, and the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) is exploring many ways to increase their farming activities. Tanuja Manoj Nesari, CEO of the NMPB, spoke to the delegates.

Narrating on the sidelines of the National Seminar on Medicinal Plants organised by the Ayurvedic Medicine Manufacturers Organization of India (AMMOI) at the Kerala Forest Research Institute in Peechi on Saturday, she said that the market for medicinal plants is going upward.

‘The market size is now 4.2 billion. It is estimated that it will reach 14 billion by 2026. So we’ve got to be ready to meet the promising demand. Some of the raw materials; herbs and shrubs which are short-term crops of one year may be grown and harvested. But we need to improve the plantation of large medicinal trees that have been in the field for more than 10 years to prepare for the desired harvesting maturity,” she stated. The NMPB, part of the Central Ministry of AYUSH, is engaged in the conservation, cultivation, R and D of medicinal plants.

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‘Approximately 20-25% of the population is grown and contributed by farmers. Sustainable agriculture and harvesting should be encouraged. Farmers should be guaranteed sufficient income to empower them to cultivate medicinal plants. The NMPB promotes integrated cultivation practises. The Board, along with this, is also trying to promote in situ cultivation and the conservation of forests,’ she stated.

‘We should also motivate the use of socio-economic forestry methodologies. Medicinal plants can be grown along the side of the National Highways. The Board also launched awareness-raising and opportunity programmes, particularly at the level of educational institutions,’ mentioned Ms. Nesari.

The Board had a project named ’20 medicinal plants in each backyard garden by 2020,’ she said. The purpose was to reduce the per capita cost of expensive medicines by using traditional Ayurveda practises, using medicinal plants from our own garden, Ms. Nesari said.

India imported about 10%-15% of raw materials, such as asafoetida, manjishta and gulgul, from countries like afghanistan.

‘There is a huge amount of scope for exporting raw materials. However, quality, regulatory compliance and organic accreditation of materials are very important,’ she stated.

“The farming of medicinal plants is also mostly unorganised. Correct supply chain management and the formation of farmers’ organisations at different levels will improve production. Income for farmers must be guaranteed at a minimum price of support for their produce. In  state of Kerala, the Central Fund for the cultivation of medicinal plants has been diverted for relief work due to recent floods,” she says.