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.
He 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.
He 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.