|Medicinal Plants: An Expanding Role in Development (World Bank, 1996, 32 pages)|
|4. Toward a strategy|
Any strategy should maintain the long-term view. In principle at least, medicinal plants could contribute substantially to the overall management of natural resources. Indeed, if given research and policy support, they could potentially become high-value components of many agriculture and rural development programs, perhaps providing upscale alternatives to low-value food crops.
They have an especial promise for the fragile habitats, where conventional farming is fraught with hazard.
All in all, it seems clear that a greater awareness and appreciation for this subject of the healing herbs could be important to development efforts in general. For many countries medicinal plants are a possible ""bridge" between sustainable economic development, affordable healthcare and the conservation of vital biodiversity.
The more detailed assessment that is to follow will examine many of the issues raised above. It will also document the use, abuse and development potential of medicinal plants. In particular, it will focus on China, India, and Ethiopia. From all this, it is hoped to derive lessons and, where appropriate, to propose new best practices. Further in-depth studies are needed to shed light on the issues raised in this paper. More specific information is required in areas indicated in Appendix 1. This will necessitate a series of desk reviews and in-country research.