Friday, August 9, 2013

Gram Aranya Samithi to collect rare medicinal plants

A workshop on medicinal plants was organised at Aranya Bhavan in city on Thursday. The motto of the workshop is to educate villagers about sustainable use, collection procurement, storage, value addition, transportation and marketing of rare medicinal plants, under 'Gram Aranya Samithi' (Village Forest Committee). 
About 14 committees across State are functioning and are collecting rare medicinal plants, which are at extinct in their region. The event was organised by Karnataka Forest Department in association with National Medicinal Plants Board and I-AIM.

Chief Forest Conservation Officer B Shivanagowda said that more number of Gram Aranya Samithi should come up in every district. The committee members have to be educated about cultivation, protection, collection, safe harvesting of rare plants, and value should be fixed for the products.

Department is also planing to come out with a Action Plan for processing, value addition for medicinal plants and also to organise buyers and sellers meet to provide platform for committee members, he said, asking committee members to visit other states and enhance their knowledge.

Additional Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Dr GN Srikantaiah said that AYUSH Health sector is growing about 10 to 15 per cent every year and there is good demand for medicinal plant. Cultivating medicinal plants will not only benefit the herbal industry, whereas generates income, employment opportunity and provides livelihood for village. Apart this, villagers contribution to health security of country will be high,' he pointed out. He further said, sustainable collection of medicinal plants is need of the hour, and buy back arrangements has to be introduced to help cultivators.

According to World Health Organisation 80 per cent of people depend on Medicinal Plant for good health. In India its estimated that more than 6500 plants have medicinal values, of which about 2000 plants exist in Karnataka and few are identified by the committees.
FRLHT Senior Programme Officer Jagannath said that lack of information and not understandable chain system in marketing pushes   villagers into trouble. He asked committee members to study the value, use of herbs, and quantity of the plant they collect.

Stating medicine science plays major role in coming days, Dr Anilkumar Dixit said that China has become big competitor to India and we have to stand equally to them. Village Forest Committee members of Mahadevnagar, Mysore; Kodukatte, Ramanagar and Kaduboranahalli of Tumkur took part in the event and shared about their medicinal plants collections, achievements, and hurdles they are facing. 

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