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Grant for production of elite planting materials

Staff Reporter

The scheme will function for three years

KODAIKANAL: The Horticulture Research Station will implement a special scheme on production of elite planting materials of medicinal and aromatic plants suitable for hilly region through macro and micro propagation sanctioned by the National Medicinal Plants Board shortly, according to T. Arumugam, Associate Professor and Head of the Research Station.

In a release here on Saturday, he said NMPB had sanctioned Rs.13 lakhs as grant for this scheme. Climatic condition in the hill was ideal for mass multiplication through micro propagation as well as cultivation of medicinal plants such as Digitalis, Isabgol, Rosemary, Geranium, Sage, Lemon Balm, Citronella and Stevia, he said.

Demand for these varieties was on the increase in pharmaceutical industries. Non-availability of quality planting materials was the bottleneck for large production. The main aim of this project was to produce quality planting materials through macro and micro propagation. Such quality planting materials would be supplied to needy growers in the hill, the head said.

Dr. Arumugam said medicinal and aromatic plants were economically important, as they provided basic raw materials for pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. At present, the demand for these crops and their products was enormous, owing to potential carcinogenic hazards by the use of synthetic chemicals.

He said China was the leading producer and exporter of medicinal plants and their derivatives. Medicinal and aromatic plants products in India were meagre compared to global trade.

With the export of herbal products from India had been estimated at Rs.3,000 crores, the expanding area of commercial cultivation of medicinal and aromatic plants was the only way to meet the growing demand in domestic and international markets, he said.

The supply of quality planting materials of new improved varieties, genetically pure and disease-free seed materials, mass production and timely supply were the key factors to produce them commercially. This scheme would function for three years, he said.

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