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Market value of Medicinal Plants from India to reach 5 Trillion US Dollars by 2050: Prof Dutta

Kolkata, Dec 4 (UNI) The market value of Medicinal plants in India according to findings
in 2016 states it to be about 72 billion USD and by 2050 this is estimated to reach around
USD 5 Trillion, stated Prof Swapan Kumar Dutta, Former DDG (ICAR) and VC, Visva
Bharati University, Co-PI, DBT, Program support of COE, University of Calcutta in
the opening address of the second and final day of the Rural Connect -2018 organized by
The Bengal Chamber on Tuesday at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre.
“Bengal has a wide range of indigenous medicinal plants which can play a very important
role in human health in the 21st Century. Most medicinal plants grow in the wild and each
contain a specific bioactive compound. There is a need to create a conducive environment
to grow these in controlled green houses or glass houses so that mass production can be
achieved. Although India is a rich source of medicinal plants we are still lagging behind in
plant based drug production” he added.
Purnendu Bose, State Minister-In-Charge, Department of Technical Education, Training
& Skill Development, in his keynote address, stated that he was very thankful for the joint
effort of The Bengal Chamber, NABARD and Ingreens for this conclave.
"When we speak about rural development the underlying fabric of the rural areas is
agriculture. Our country has the maximum number of employable people in the world yet
sadly it’s also a country with many unemployed and most of these unemployed reside in
the villages. In the age between 18-35, for every four person, only one is employed in
farming while other three in non-farming sectors. While everyone aspires for government
jobs there are not ample jobs in that sector," he said.
However the rural areas have immense potential not just in farming but in other areas
related to farming. Areas like soil testing labs, soil diagnosis , seed production, production
of bio fertilizers, are sectors where local youths may be trained and employed to contribute
to the growth of agri -economy, he opined. For quality crop production a sound knowledge
of superior quality seed production is must. Also there is need for training in judicious use
of fertilizers and water, Mr Bose said.
The minister said it has been observed that plants treated with bio fertilizers give better
yield than those on chemicals which itself opens up an immense scope for training and
employment. Also efforts to learn effective rain water harvesting are very imperative. There
are various government and institutional departments that are rendering sound know how
and skilling which the village youth can undertake and get employment. Farmers need to
learn the art of business, learn the accounting operations, banking operations and how to
market their produce.
Mr Bose said under the Utkarsh Bangla Scheme which was launched by the state
government vocational training is being provided for youths who have either dropped
out or had to discontinue their education. The beneficiaries of the scheme are being
provided with adequate skilling and training in driving, tailoring, repairing, beautician
and the like. At the end certificates are given, allowing them to seek employment.
There are about 72 lakh farming families. It’s very crucial to train the farmers. Also
those who have some expertise and experience need to be identified and trained and
sent to fields where cultivation is done as training cannot be merely given in closed
rooms. But above all we need to have a target to move forward, he added.
Prof Asis Mazumdar, Nodal Officer-Eastern Region, Regional cum Facilitation
Centre (RCFC-ER) National Medicinal Plant Board, stated, “We work with medicinal
plants in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha. The Bengal State
Medicinal Plant Board under Dr Prasanta Kr Sarkar is doing exemplary work The
main function of RCFC is to act as multifaceted facilitating arm of NMPB (National
Medicinal Plants Board), develop quality planting materials and agro technology of
medicinal plants, setting up primary processing, grading, marketing facilities, develop
managerial and technical skill among stake holders, facilitating in sale of medicinal
produce, domestication of wild species in demand, collect and maintain database of
all concerned sectors."
The medicinal and aromatic plants of India have great potential outside. 80 per cent
supply of raw drugs come from the wild with 134 species being cultivated and 160 are
partially cultivated. The export of medicinal goods in 2017-18 from India was 1920.415
metric tonnes. For herbal raw drugs export volume has grown by 11 per cent. Some of
the top in demand plants are Amla, Ashwagandha, Aloevera, Isabgol, Prof Mazumdar
Although there is a great potential for medicinal plants there are various issues plaguing
the marketing side due to not enough marketing linkages like mandis and market place,
unorganized supply chain of medicinal plants, lack of proper post-harvest management
like drying, storing and grading.
Dr. Prasanta Kr. Sarkar, Director West Bengal State Medicinal Plant Board, under the state government, stated, that medicinal plants are used in general medicine, Ayurveda, unani,
homeopathic and siddha medicines. 12.5 per cent modern medicines are from medicinal
plants. Total demand is 5.5 MT with a 5% increase per year. The Demand by 2020 is 6
trillion USD. Medicinal plnats are chiefly exported to U.K., U.S., Germany, Japan, Pakistan,
Phillipines, Bangladesh.
Presently medicine plants are also being grown as cluster cultivation where three different
plants are grown together in a common space. The target plants that need to be focused
more on according to demand are Brahmi, Senna, Nayantara, Sajina, Vacha, Turmeric. Also
new initiatives to be taken are with plants like Moringa, Senna, Nayantara and Vacha, he said
There are 242 plant species recorded in high annual trade. 114 species come from forests,
59 species from wasteland, 54 species from cultivation, 15 species from imports. Since these
plants are highly esteemed as rich source of therapeutic agents, India and West Bengal can
look forward to focusing more on this industry.
Dr. G.P. Sarkar, President , Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturer’s Association along with others
dignitaries were also present on the occasion.
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