Five Assam districts to grow medicinal plants

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Medicinal plants in Assam will now have an assured market.

The National Medicinal Plants Board has approved a Rs 7,77.73 lakh-project for “conservation, development and sustainable management of medicinal plants”.

The three-year project will involve plantation of different medicinal plants on 2,000 hectares in five districts — Kamrup, Nagaon, Chirang, Dibrugarh and Cachar. The members of the joint forest management committees will execute the project.

The chief conservator of forests (research, education and working plans) of Assam, R.P. Agarwalla, today said this is the largest ever project approved in the medicinal plants sector for the state. It will help the sector to grow commercially, he added.

The National Medicinal Plants Board, set up in November 2002 by the Centre, has the primary mandate of co-ordinating all matters relating to medicinal plants and support policies and programmes for growth of trade, export, conservation and cultivation.

The board is located in the department of ayurveda, yoga and naturopathy, unani, siddha and homeopathy (AYUSH) of the Union ministry of health and family welfare.

The joint forest management committees under forest development agencies spread throughout the state will implement the project. Some of the medicinal plants that will be grown as part of the project include sarpagandha, pippali, ashoka, agar and amla.

“The advantage of the project is that it will help in bulk production which the industry wants,” Agarwalla said.

He said the project, which will help in bulk production of medicinal plants, was sanctioned only after the industry, particularly those involved in making ayurvedic medicines, had given assurance of acquiring the products.

“The products will be ready in 18 months,” Agarwalla said.

He said the board has assured him that if the project is successful in the five districts of the state, it will be incorporated in other districts as well.

The members of the joint forest management committees will be trained as part of the project.

“Prices of the products will be fixed on its quality,” Agarwalla said.

The board has stipulated that at least 50 per cent of the employment that will be generated under the project shall be for women. A separate account will be maintained for the project to facilitate monitoring of utilisation of the funds.

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