Dr Harsh Vardhan Urges Farmers to Adopt Cultivation of Improved Varieties of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants to Enhance their Income

The Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan giving a plant to a farmer, at a Kisan Mela, in Lucknow, UP on January 31, 2016.

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The Union Minister for Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Dr Harsh Vardhan, and Vice President, CSIR has urged the farmers and entrepreneurs engaged in cultivation, processing of medicinal and aromatic plants to adopt improved technologies and improved varieties for raising their income. Speaking at a Kisan Mela (farmers’ fair) organized at CSIR-Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants CSIR-CIMAP in Lucknow today, he said, this would also help in production of quality raw material demanded by user industries.

          The Minister said that medicinal and aromatic plants are the valuable green wealth of the country. These should be sustainably used for creating livelihood opportunities of poor people residing in rural areas. He also said that there are immense possibilities for promotion of production of medicinal and aromatic plants and industries by startups. Dr Harsh Vardhan called upon the scientists to develop improved technologies for conservation and cultivation of these plants keeping in view the changing climatic conditions and limited as well as diminishing agriculture resources. He said that farmers should be apprised regularly about the new developments being made in the research laboratories by organizing awareness meets, workshops and farmers fairs in different parts of the country.

                 Dr Harsh Vardhan lauded the efforts made by CSIR-CIMAP in reaching the unreached and said that these efforts be given a new push for making visible impact by creating new avenues for self-employment in rural sector. Expressing his satisfaction on development and release of improved varieties of essential oil bearing lemongrass and anti-malarial drug-producing artemisinin-rich Artemisia annua by CSIR-CIMAP, the Minister pointed out that participation of user industries should be ensured for promotion of each aromatic and medicinal plant so that poor farmers and entrepreneurs should not face difficulty in marketing of their produce.

             Dr Harsh Vardhan further said that today people are inclined towards the use of drugs and cosmetics made from natural resources as ill effects have been reported from the use of synthetic drugs world over. It is also necessary to make initiatives to improve trust of the people towards herbal drugs he added. The Minister said that scientists should standardize the ayurvedic drugs so that their use can be increased in health care of the poor people. Dr Harsh Vardhan also emphasized the need for development of such plant varieties which can withstand vagaries of nature and can be grown in stressed soils ensuring utilization of large tracts of waste lands available in the country.

Other major events organized on the occasion of CIMAP Kisan Mela included interactive  meet  with farmers and entrepreneurs on the production and marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants,  sale of publications and high quality planting material of mint, aromatic grasses and other medicinal plant varieties developed by CIMAP, demonstration of improved plant varieties and herbal products,  live demonstration of distillation/ processing using CIMAP’s improved units,  training on rose water and flower-based agarbatti making,   demonstration of ‘Early Mint Technology’, integration of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) in traditional cropping system. A unique pilot-scale herbal product manufacturing unit ‘Technology Business Incubator Centre (TBIC)’ was also inaugurated by the chief guest Dr Harsh Vardhan. In TBIC, various machines have been installed to facilitate manufacturing of creams, gels, shampoo, oils, face wash, floor mopping liquid in approx. 100 Kg batch size. The TBIC will help the technology users and entrepreneurs to manufacture the herbal products based on CIMAP technology. This will also serve as an incubator centre for the startups.

The Minister was accompanied by Shri Naveen Chandra  Bajpei, Deputy Chairman, State Planning Commission, UP and Shri Praveer Kumar, Agriculture Production Commissioner, UP, Dr. Sudeep Kumar, Head Planning and Performance Division of CSIR, Dr R. A Vishwakarma, Director, CSIR-IIIM, Dr(Mrs.) Madhu Dikshit, Director, CSIR-CDRI, Dr CS Nautiyal, Director, CSIR-NBRI, Dr Alok Dhawan, Director, CSIR-IITR and Prof. AK Tripathi, Director, CSIR-CIMAP.

  Representatives from various industries such as IPCA Laboratories, Jindal Drugs, Herbochem Industries, AIMIL Pharma, PIRINIC Pharma, AMORE Herbals, Ajmal Group, Essential Oil Association of India (EOAI), ICEOFF, and Spices Board, SIDBI, etc. and several buyers of medicinal and aromatic plants attended  the Kisan Mela. Different laboratories of CSIR such as NBRI, CDRI, IITR and IICT demonstrated their technologies relevant to rural areas. Beneficiaries of CSIR-CIMAP technologies and services together with other companies also exhibited their products by putting up stalls in the Kisan Mela and interacted with the Minister and other dignitaries present on the occasion.

About 4000 farmers and entrepreneurs from UP, Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand, Odisha and others states of the country participated  in the Kisan Mela.