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Exports Of Herbal & Dietary Products Has Huge Potential

Minister of State for Health & Family Welfare, Smt. Panabaka Lakshmi Inaugurated the Orientation and Capacity Building workshop for the CEOs of State Medicinal Plant// Boards on “Strategies for Conservation and Cultivation of Medicinal Plants” in New Delhi today.

The minister said that our strategies and action plans should focus not only on conserving and enriching existing medicinal plants bio-diversity in the forest areas but promote cultivation of medicinal plants through farmers.

This two pronged approach will not only ensure that medicinal plants that are collected by tribals and other forest dwellers for their livelihood are made available to the AYUSH industry but also that the farmers are able to cultivate medicinal plants as an alternative crop. The two-day workshop has been organized by the National Medicinal Plants Board in collaboration with Foundation for Revitalization of Local Health Traditions (FRLHT).

Besides Mrs. Anita Das, Secretary in Department of AYUSH, Mr. Sajwan, Chief Executive officer, National Medicinal Plants Board and Dr. Darshan Shankar from the FRLHT, Bangalore were also present at the workshop.

The minister said: ‘Forests are the main repository of our rich bio-diversity and have contributed to more than 90% of the medicinal plants used for manufacture of medicines of the Ayurvedic, Unani and Siddha systems.’

She emphasized that the growing demand for herbal products globally was putting unsustainable demand on forests leading to depletion of the plants Bio diversity that threatened the very survival of a number of medicinal plants species.

She said that there during the last 5-6 years, the National Medicinal Plants Board had taken a number of initiatives and supported programmes for conservation and cultivation. However, one of the major constraints noticed was the absence of proper infrastructure and manpower with the National and State Medicinal Plants Board.

The workshop seeks to discuss the important initiatives and thrust areas that are proposed to be pursued during the 11th Plan and review the progress achieved by the State Medicinal Plants Board in preparation of strategy paper and action plan. The State Forest Departments will also have to play a key role in conservation and development of medicinal plants in forest areas through Joint Forest Management.

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