Vice Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University (AAU) KM Bujarbaruah said that though Assam and the north east which fell in a biodiversity hotspot had huge bioresources, these had not been converted to a bio economy.
Addressing the 26th annual group meeting of the All India Coordinated Research Project on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPS) of Medicinal and aromatic plants sector and betelvine here on Friday, the VC called for streamlining of the sector and monitoring in respect of quantity, quality and imports.
“We do not know the demand, what is the supply and how much is supplied from the wilds, wastelands, cultivated, kitchen gardens and imports. What is the percentage involved. Medicinal plants are not cultivated in sufficient quantity to be of commercial interest and how can linkages be established so that farmers take up farming of herbs and Medicinal plants. These need to be streamlined, “he said.
The VC announced that the University had been given two big projects by the Ministry of AYUSH and the third was in the pipeline.
Regarding one of the projects Bujarbaruah said that under each of the 23 Krishi Vigyan Kendra under AAU, 10000 hectares of land would be brought under Medicinal and Aromatic Plants cultivation and market linkages would be established so that farmers took to cultivating the herbs and got good returns.
In this context he said that as contract farming had become legal, such companies like Dabur, Patanjali and Himalayas who were already in the business could be tapped.
He further said that only 8. 34 lakh hectares had been covered under medicinal plants and these could be taken to 10 lakh hectares.
T Janakiram, ADG, (HS), ICAR, New Delhi, addressing the occasion as chief guest said that China contributed about 15 per cent to the global medicinal plant market whereas India’s share was negligible with a .5 share.
The market now was 72 billion US dollars and by 2050 would be 7 trillion US dollars, he said. He further said that the need of the hour was to work out a strategy to compete globally. In Assam he said that three plants pipali, bhomura and rawoolfia.
He urged upon the vice chancellor to press the Assam government to formulate a horticultural and medicinal plant policy for the state.
Janakiram said that the government of India was now stressing on the Medicinal and Aromatic Plants production and marketing and had given this an impetus after setting up of AYUSH and also a Consortium across all the ministries to monitor and record.
He further said that in China 500 species of mushrooms were commercially produced whereas in India only 4 to 5 species. Regarding the objective of the meeting he said that they work on a road map for more visibility and analyse the impact at the ground level.
P Manvel, project coordinator, AICRP, MAPS and Betelvine said that at present the demand and supply information was coming out due to the stringent policy of the Indian government, contract farming has become legal from March 2018, and the impact factor was being analyzed.
He further said that out of the 46 AICRP Centre’s on MAPS, two were in Assam, one at the University and the other at Kaziranga.
Delegates from 23 AICRP Centre’s participated and more than 25 publications from the different centres were released on the occasion including one on success stories.