Crunch in medicinal plants production in Vizag

Poor marketing policy of state is the main stumbling block.

Visakhapatnam: Despite the growing demand for medicinal plants and herbs in Andhra Pradesh, growers in the state are now reluctant to take them up for cultivation, resulting in a supply crisis.

The cultivators have complained to the Andhra Pradesh Medicinal & Aromatic Plants Board (APMAPB) that they are getting a raw deal for their produce, given the cost of cultivation and labour invested.

“Poor marketing policy of the state government and lack of primary processing units are the main stumbling blocks for the medicinal plant market in the state," said an agricultural scientist.

Big herbal companies and many from Madhya Pradesh (Neemuch) are said to have been minting good money, buying medicinal plants at cheaper prices. Moreover, outsourcing the process of collecting the raw material of the medicinal plants and the research work to a few selected private companies is starting a monopoly in the medicinal plant market.

When contacted, APMPAB deputy executive officer M. Ravi Sankara Sarma said, “The crunch in medicinal plant production is because production is not surging as per demand. The growers of the medicinal plants are not happy over the returns from their produce. We have been providing subsidies to the cultivators and efforts are on to ensure good rates for the medicinal plant produce.”

He pointed out that the board was not receiving enough funds from the state government for the conservation and marketing of the medicinal plants. About 15 tree species and 25 herb and shrub species are being cultivated in Andhra Pradesh, according to the Andhra Pradesh Medici-nal and Aromatic Plants Board. However, Ashwa-gandha and Piper longum (Pipp-ala) species are being cultivated extensively in Vizag and Kurnool.

About 70 per cent of the medicinal plant and herb species growing in the state are on the verge of extinction in the state, according to the AP Medicinal & Aromatic Plants Board.

As many as 312 medicinal plant species in the state have commercial trade potential. “The trading of biological resources, including medicinal plantation, runs to around Rs 10,000 crore in the state,” said former chairperson of the AP Biodiversity Board R. Hampaiah.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story