Srinagar, Apr 28: Jammu and Kashmir has enormous potential to produce high altitude medicinal plants, which are in great demand in the Indian and international markets.
Dr. Mohan Singh, Director of AYUSH in Jammu and Kashmir, stated that the Ministry of AYUSH has sanctioned the creation of the Institute of High Altitude Medicinal Plants in Bhaderwah, Doda district, for which a DPR of Rs 108 crore has been submitted to the Union Government.
“This is the first Institute of High Altitude Medicinal plants in India. This institute will serve all stakeholders associated with Medicinal Plants,” he said.
"At Bhaderwah, we are establishing a nursery that will provide farmers and growers with high-quality planting material. We are also establishing a seed germplasm centre to provide quality seeds to farmers and institutes," Singh explained.
The department is intending to distribute High Altitude Medicinal Plants during the current financial year. “We will try to give farmers plantation material and seeds as well,” he said.
“Marketing mandi is also being established at Bhaderwah for providing marketing linkages to the farmers and other stakeholders. So a farmer will have a complete set-up like he will get the planting material, seeds, even marketing as well,” Singh said.
“They can go for value addition of those medicinal plants or they can trade it likewise. This is aimed to conserve the medicinal plants of J&K and it will also generate employment as well as revenue,” he said.
The Ayush has also established Ayush Health and Wellness centres where it provides all facilities like Yoga, Panchkarma, Ayurvedic and Unani medicines and treatment.
“In these centres we are developing herbal gardens which is one of the mandatory components of the centres. The herbal gardens are aimed to promote medicinal plants found in the locality not only for medicinal purposes but also to promote on a commercial scale,” Dr Mohan Singh said.
Dr Wahid Ul Hassan, Technical Officer, Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plant Board said that the National Medicine Plant Board has prioritized many species which could be cultivated commercially and which have huge benefit for the farmers.
“There are more than 300 plus medicinal plants that are being used in Jammu and Kashmir. Amongst these the medicinal plants having high demand in the market are being promoted for cultivation. It is aimed to improve farmer income and conserve the species,” he said.
Dr Wahid said the department is connecting more farmers and eight clusters of farmers have been identified for the cultivation of medicinal plants.
“We are implementing the Conservation Development and Sustainability of Medicinal Plants scheme of the Ministry of Ayush under which there are various components like conservation, research, awareness, capacity building etc, “ he said.
“The conservation part (in-situ and ex-situ conversation) is executed by the Forest Department sponsored by the Ministry of AYUSH Government of India,” he said.
“In Jammu and Kashmir, we have identified clusters of farmers from Kupwara, Ganderbal, Tangmarg, Baderwah, Kishtwar, Rajouri, Doda and Udhampur to encourage cultivation of medicinal plants,” Dr Wahid added.