The department of Ayush under the Union health ministry has announced its plan to establish first medicinal plant processing cluster in Hyderabad. While taking part in an interactive event in Hyderabad. Bala Prasad, joint secretary, Ayush revealed that, during 12th five year plan period, the department would be establishing 20 medicinal plant processing clusters throughout the country by 2017. Of which the central government has zeroed in for Hyderabad to establish its first medicinal plant processing cluster in the state by the end of this year.
The interactive session which was organized by Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council of India (Pharmexcil) was attended by more than 30 delegates from across the country to discuss the prevailing challenges and opportunities in the Ayush and herbal sector.
The agenda of the discussion was mainly focused at value addition to Ayush and herbal products. Currently India is placed 18th in the world for producing value added herbal and Ayush products. Though India has a great potential to grow a variety of medicinal plants in the country, the sector is lagging behind due to various problems like lack of awareness among farmers, non availability of adequate training facilities at village and mandal level, lack of extraction and processing facilities etc.
Dr P V Appaji, director general of Pharmexcil highlighted that India is the second leading exporter of Ayush and herbal products in the world placed second only to China. Out of a total of $13.2 billion pharmaceutical exports, Ayush and herbals contribute about Rs.700 crore and Rs.600 crore respectively.
While stressing more on the need of increasing synergy and fostering partnership among farmers, Industry and the government, Jitendra Sharma, CEO, National Medicinal Plant Board, said, “it is time to focus our concentration to build synergy among various stake holders. More farmers should be pooled in to grow medicinal plants. There is a need to build basic infrastructure facilities like processing clusters and procurement centres across the country.”
Highlighting the abundant resources for Medicinal plant growth in Andhra Pradesh, K S Reddy, CEO, Medicinal Plant Board, Andhra Pradesh, said, “About 22 per cent of 62,500 square kilometers of the state is covered with forest. AP is known for growing a variety of Medicinal plant species in the country. At present there are about 1517 species of medicinal plants grown in the state and this is only 20 to 25 per cent of species of what is available across the globe. We need to encourage other cloned species apart from existing wild species. Ananthapur, Warangal, Mahabubnagar and Chittoor are the best places in the state that offer suitable condition for growing medicinal plants in the state.”
Other speakers and participants felt that the government should assist the farmers and encourage industry by way of providing minimum support price for farmers and enable the industry to build required infrastructure and help in promoting their products to foreign countries. While answering to a query with regard to various schemes of Aysuh department Bala Prasad said, “The Ayush department has been allocated a budget of Rs.990 Crores for the financial year 2012-13. Under national mission of medicinal plants we are planning to develop 20 processing clusters across the country. We are providing Rs.2 crore to a cluster of 10 farmers whoever wishes to build their own processing units or extracting units. We have signed Mou’s with countries like China, Malaysia, Tobago, Nepal and Sri Lanka to promote export of Ayush and Herbal products to these countries.” [Source]