BENGALURU: Open mandis (market places) at district, village and state-level will help sell medicinal plants and their products, National Medicinal Plants Board chief executive officer Meenakshi Negi said.
Speaking on the sidelines of a farmers’ meet at AYUSH Arogya Expo organised by the AYUSH Department on Thursday, she said many schemes are being implemented by the board, Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and AYUSH Services and the State Horticulture Department.
“The Union government will fund these schemes and help farmers grow medicinal plants, trees and herbs. Growing about 95 such species will get government support.
Inter-cropping option is available and to train farmers on such techniques, the board has tied up with University of Agriculture Sciences and has also opened a centre. The farmers are given training and information of growing such plants,” Negi said.
She said herbal and medicinal plants have been neglected. Salacia, a woody climber naturally found in tropical regions, and Gloriosa, another medicinal plant, have been termed endangered. To protect them, the board, through its National Medicinal Plants Area Project has identified 20 places in Karnataka.”Over 200 acres in 20 places have been termed protected area,”she added.
On the lines of Kissan Call Centre, National Medicinal Plants Board is planning to set up a call centre for the benefit of farmers who take up or have been growing medicinal plants.
Horticulture Department Joint Director Shakeel Ahmed said the department will increase the price support to aided nurseries that grow medicinal plants.
“This year, Rs 25 lakh for aided nurseries will be given and Rs 6.50 lakh for small nurseries,” he said and added that 75 percent of financial assistance will be given in case of total crop loss of such plants.
Head of the Department of Medicinal Plants at University of Agriculture Sciences, Bengaluru, Dr Vasundhara said there are more than 1,100 types of medicinal plants and farmers are growing only 60 of them mainly. The farmers should be educated sufficiently about the firms that take up such plants, she added. “The use of herbs in day-to-day life should be encouraged. People depend on antibiotics. Instead, they can use herbs to boost immunity,” she observed.
Explaining on quality of sandal tree, she said the seeds are also used for cosmetic purpose.”The seed has anti-ageing element like fatty acid,” added Dr Vasundhara.
She also said that 2,000 hectares are used for biomedicinal plants, trees and herbs in the State. This area can be increased by adopting inter-cropping method. The farmers can also get information from the university, she added.