Shripad Naik chairs e-event on two decades of the National Medicinal Plants Board

New Delhi: Shripad Yesso Naik, Minister of State (IC), for AYUSH chaired an e-event organized by the National Medicinal Plant Board on 24th November, 2020 to celebrate its Establishment Day. On this occasion, a “Status Report of NMPB 2020” and “Ayur-veg” e-book were also released.

The AYUSH Minister, Secretary (AYUSH) Vaidya Rajesh Kotecha and other members of the Board complemented NMPB for its progress, achievements and contribution made for growth and development of medicinal plants sector in the country.

In recent years cultivation of medicinal plants has started gaining momentum. However, still a significant part of our requirements continue to be met from wild sources. To meet increasing demand for medicinal plants, the NMPB focuses on in-situ & ex-situ conservation and augmenting local medicinal plants and aromatic species of medical significance. The NMPB promotes research & development, capacity building through trainings, raising awareness through promotional activities like creation of Home/School herbal gardens.

NMPB’s main objective is the development of medicinal plants sector through developing a strong coordination between the stakeholders i.e., farmers, traders, and manufacturers benefiting each of them. The endeavor would increase the income and livelihood of the farmers and tribes. It would facilitate backward integration with the industry/ manufacturers through post-harvest management. Introduction of new IT tools and market linking activities further help the farmers as well as the industry.

The importance of medicinal plants to the development of India’s farm sector was one of the points highlighted on the Foundation Day. It is widely accepted that medicinal plants are critical and strategic because medicines are key to maintaining a healthy population that drives and sustains the economy. However, the immense value addition that medicinal plants can bring about to the farm sector, even to small and marginal farmers, is often overlooked. Advocacy and motivation have been high on the agenda of NMPB, and it has driven and sustained adoption of medicinal plants on a large scale. Encouraging investors in the area of cultivation and production scale medicine have also been looked into by the Board.

Amidst the surge of global statistics revealing the growing economic importance of medicinal plants for developing countries and the increasing focus of the Central Government in India on medicinal plants as an important option for enhancing farm incomes, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) has completed two decades of its existence.

It was 24th November 2000, that the then Department of AYUSH joined hands with the Ministry of Environment and Forest, Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Department of Biotechnology and Department of Agricultural Research and Education to form the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB). The Board, today, is an integral unit of the Ministry of AYUSH with the aforesaid Ministries and Departments offering consultations and support, and it exercises oversight on medicinal plants sector.

The voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plants Production (VCSMPP) has been an important achievement of NMPB. The scheme, designed with the support of the Quality Council of India, encourages good practices among farmers in the matter of cultivation, field collection and maintaining quality of the medicinal plants products. This certification is, in many ways, a form of quality assurance, and it has resulted in easy marketing and export of medicinal plants products.

The NMPB has reached out to thousands of farmers across the country through Fairs, Exhibitions, Species-specific campaigns etc., and supported them through various business development steps. These steps include digital solutions like e-HERBS (for geo-tagging and collecting field data) and the e-Charak mobile app (for market information). NMPB has executed projects in areas of relevance for the farmers, like sustainable harvesting, intercropping and post-harvest management. Export promotion is another area in which it has made significant contributions.

The NMPB reaches out to farmers and traders through a regional as well as state-wise networking through the state and regional representations. Each state is having a State Medicinal Plants Board (SMPB) while there are seven Regional Cum Facilitation Centres (RCFCs) to co-ordinate between the SMPBs and NMPB.

It has also been decided by the Board that on commemoration of 20 years completion, the NMPB will have yearlong celebration by carrying out various promotional and developmental activities.

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