MP can brighten India's chances in Global herbal trade

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MP can brighten India's chances in Global herbal trade

Monday, 23 December 2019 | Awanish Somkuwar

Madhya Pradesh can help India enrich visibility in the global herbal trade and drug market, which has now reached 120 billion US dollars. Though, India's herbal product export has touched 456 million US dollar, but it deserves even more with herbal wealth rich State like Madhya Pradesh.

This inference comes after interviews with the participants of International Herbal Fair 2019 Bhopal. The spectrum of participants included traders in herbal products, Ayurvedic drug manufacturing companies, District Primary Cooperative Unions of minor forest produce collectors mainly forest dwelling tribes and petitioners of traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine.

The global herbal drug market shows density of Indian companies. At least five of 12 major key players are from India including Himalaya Drug Company, Zandu Pharmaceuticals Works Limited, Dabur Ltd, Hamdard Laboratories and Patanjali Ayurvedic Limited. Others include Schwabe of Germany, Madaus of Spain, Arkopharman of France, Blackmores of Australia, Tsumura of Japan, Sheng Chang Pharmaceutical of Taiwan, Ricola AG of Switzerland, China Herbs of US and Nutraceutical International, US.

Madhya Pradesh holds potential of being a constant supplier of important herbs like Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera),  Sarpgandha (Rauwalfia Serpentia), Kalmegh (Androgaphis pasuculata), Shatavar (Asparagus racamosus), Aonla (Philanthus Emblica),  Baheda (Termibalia bellerica),  Nagarmotha (Cypersus ratandus). The Government of India is encouraging the cultivation of these herbs by offering handsome subsidy of upto 75 percent of total cultivation cost.

They are abundantly found in the biodiversity rich forests of Madhya Pradesh. Major raw materials used in the herbal drug industry are seeds, roots, bark, flowers, leaves and oils.

"The domestic herbal medicine market also offers immense scope for Madhya Pradesh due to public preference for affordable ayurvedic medicines. The World Health Organisation estimates that 80% of populations in Asian countries heavily depend on traditional medicines for primary health care, says Dr Rajesh Meshram, Head of Department of Internal Medicine Pandit Khushilal Sharma Government Ayurvedic Institute, Bhopal. He also lays emphasis on research, standardisation of herbal medicines and desighning regulatory framework to facilitate patenting.

SK Mandal, Managing Director of Madhya Pradesh Minor Forest Produce (Trade and Development Cooperative Federation) informs that the raw material is derived from a large diversity of plant species, which is estimated to be about 6,500 in India.

Elaborating on where Madhya Pradesh stands, Mandal says that the commercial demand of herbal raw drugs has been growing steadily in last few years due to revival of faith in Ayurveda medicines. It has been estimated at 5,12,000 MT in the country.

Similarly, estimated export of Herbal Raw Drugs has been has been valued at nearly two lakh metric ton.

About 1178 medicinal plant species are currently being used in herbal drug trade. The annual requirement of 242 plant species is more than 100MT. Obviously, Madhya Pradesh has immense scope to contribute as it reserves more than 500 perrennial shrubs, herbs, climbers and seasonal medicinal plants. We are designing strategies to harness the potential, he says.

Dr SL Patle of Dhanvantary Treatment and Research Samiti Balaghat is promoting research in herbal treatment.

He says that certification of Ayurveda medicines is urgent. He also advocates imparting training to tribal families who earn their livelihoods from collecting minor forest produce specially herbs. They should also be associated with processing he adds.

According to him there is need to conserve valuable herbs like Padhar (Stereospermum suaveolens).

The processing of herbs has assumed the shape of a major industry and therefore emerging entrepreneurs should focus attention on this, says MY Khokhar who heads Medicinal Flora Processing Centre at Mandla. He expresses urgency to raise literacy about floral diversity. Firoz Akhtar of Seoni Camp Balaghat is involved in herbal product manufacturing. He says that herbal procesding industry can be established in areas like Balaghat, Mandla, Dindori, Pachmari, Patalkot where herbal flora is voluminously available. He is confident of the Chief Minister Kamal Nath's initiatives of industry oriented developmet to address poverty and joblessness.

(The writer is Deputy Director in CM Press Cell)

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