Conservation of medicinal plants to boost AYUSH

The Botanical Survey of India (BSI), a unit of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has recorded more than 8,000 species of medicinal plants in India

February 5, 2019

India is home to Ayurveda, Yoga, Siddha and other traditional disciplines of healthcare and wellness that have witnessed a steady rise in interest around the world

The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) is implementing nationwide schemes to boost cultivation, conservation, processing and promotion of medicinal plants

Government of India has sought to impose strict regulatory and quality standards in the AYUSH sector to alleviate concerns related to alternative medicines

India’s wellness market, valued at over US$10 billion, is expected to grow to US$21 billion by 2020; Export from the sector was worth US$1.1 billion in 2016-17

The Botanical Survey of India (BSI), a unit of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, has recorded more than 8,000 species of medicinal plants in India, as per an official statement from the Ministry of AYUSH on February 5. This has aided a steady expansion of the Indian traditional healthcare space spanning the disciplines of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy. To further augment capacity in the space, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) is implementing nationwide schemes to boost cultivation, conservation, processing and promotion of medicinal plants.

Schemes to encourage cultivation of medicinal plants:

Under the centrally-sponsored Scheme of National AYUSH Mission (NAM), large scale farming/ cultivation of medicinal plants is being supported. As per the scheme guidelines, support is being provided for:

  1. Mass cultivation of prioritized medicinal plants
  2. Establishment of nurseries to support cultivation
  3. Post-harvest management of medicinal herbs
  4. Primary processing, marketing infrastructure, etc

Subsidy to farmers at 30-50-75 per cent based on cost of cultivation:

Central sector scheme on “Conservation, Development and Sustainable Management of Medicinal Plants” is providing project based support for the following activities:

  1. In-situ conservation through Medicinal Plants Conservation and Development Areas (MPCDAs)
  2. In-situ/Ex-situ resource augmentation; Ex-situ conservation through setting up of herbal gardens
  3. Livelihood linkages with Joint Forest Management Committees (JFMCs) / Panchayats / Van Panchayats / Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) / Self Help Groups (SHGs)
  4. IEC activities such as Training / workshops / Seminars/ Conferences, among others
  5. Research & Development; Promotion of marketing and trade of medicinal plants produce

Voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plants Produce (VCSMPP):

The scheme is aimed to encourage Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCPs) in medicinal plants, and enhances the quality and safety of their produce.

AYUSH has witnessed strong traction amid efforts to boost traditional medicines’ global outreach. Hence, India’s wellness market, valued at over US$10 billion, is expected to grow to US$21 billion by 2020. The ministry has also continued to publicise alternate system of medicine with the aim of reducing the gap between demand and supply of AYUSH services in the country. Export from the sector was worth US$1.1 billion in 2016-17. To drive export growth, AYUSH Premium Mark, a quality certification scheme, is ensuring the efficacy of Indian herbal products. India is the world’s second largest exporter of alternative medicines.

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