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close this bookMedicinal Plants: Rescuing a Global Heritage (WB, 1997, 80 p.)
close this folder3. India
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentProduction and trade
View the documentNotable Indian medicinal plants
View the documentGovernment initiatives
View the documentLinks to modern medicine
View the documentLinks to agriculture
View the documentLinks to forestry
View the documentLinks to veterinary medicine
View the documentProtecting medicinal-plant biodiversity

Links to agriculture

India has no central agency responsible for cultivation, procurement and regeneration of medicinal plants or to provide data on export and import status of these plant drugs. An immediate need is to establish collaboration between the Central and State Ministries of Agriculture and other relevant Ministries and departments. This would allow those medicinal plants most in demand to be identified and brought into cultivation if necessary. At the same time, potentially useful biotechnology developed for food crops could be considered for enhancing the active constituents of medicinal plants.

Over the long-term Indian agriculture has evolved a dynamic network of cropping systems that have continually incorporated new crop varieties to boost production, food security and income. Land under rainfed agriculture has not benefited to the same extent as irrigated agriculture, although efforts are being made to develop environmentally tolerant crop varieties for marginal farmers. Pareek and Gupta (1993) report that the introduction of medicinal plants has produced significant changes in the economies of cultivation due to the increasing demand for raw materials in the country and also for export. For example, higher yields of periwinkle, henbane, licorice, isabgol, and sarpagandha have been achieved on marginal lands with the addition of fertilizer. India, with its vast network of public and private research institutions has a great deal to offer other developing countries with respect to establishing and integrating medicinal plant cultivation with food crop production where appropriate. The activity should generate interest of agronomists and plant geneticists to include in-depth studies of medicinal plants vis-is existing cropping systems, especially on remote, marginal, and degraded lands.