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Farmers profit from medicinal plants

R. Vimal Kumar

Assistance under NMMP helps them a lot


The main variety grown is ‘kanvali kilangu'

It is used in extractions for cancer


Tirupur: Farmers like S. Sivasamy of Srirangagoundenputhur village who commercially cultivate medicinal plants are now elated as they have started getting high profits from their profession because of the various farming assistances they got under the National Mission on Medicinal Plants (NMMP).

Till a few years ago, medicinal plants-rearing in the district was confined to either in the backyards of houses or on small holdings of farmers before it leapfrogged into a commercial cluster-based cultivation spreading over Mulanur and Dharapuram blocks.

The main variety grown in these blocks is ‘Gloriosa Superba' (popularly known in Tamil as kanvali kilangu).

Raja Sankaralingam, a Tuticorin-based medicinal plant exporter and Vice-Chairman of Shellac and Forest Products Export Promotion Council under Government of India, told The Hindu that the Gloriosa Superba seeds procured from the area were now been exported primarily to Italy.

“The alkaloid extracted from the seeds are used for the preparation of herbal extractions to fight diseases including cancer,” he said.

Subsidy

According to Mr. Sivasamy, the subsidy assistances received under the NMMP to install micro irrigation system and for offsetting the costs of inputs and post harvest management, has benefitted the farmers to double the (seed) yield to 300 kg a hectare in three years and its quality too has improved.

Mr. Sivasamy was among those in the area who had completely migrated from crops like maize to medicinal plants once they started obtaining returns as high as Rs. 1,500 from a kg of Gloriosa Superba seeds which was initially reared on a very small scale.

Assistant Director of Horticulture S. Krishnakumar said that the department now plans to extend Rs. 68.75 lakh as back-ended subsidy under NMMP to double the area under medicinal plants in the district this fiscal.

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