Ecology, Environment and Conservation Paper

Vol 26, Oct Suppl. Issue, 2020; Page No.(52-57)

PROSPECTS OF MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC PLANTS COMMERCIAL FARMING IN DISTRICT UTTARKASHI, UTTARAKHAND, INDIA

Madhu Thapliyal and Ashish Thapliyal

Abstract

Himalayan region of Uttarakhand state of India has been well known to be a treasure trove of medicinal plants. Uttarkashi district (30°732N 78°452E) of Uttarakhand is rich in medicinal plants and several studies/ surveys have been carried out enlisting medicinal, aromatic and Nutraceutical plants. These include medicinal plants Kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa Royle), Vajradanti (Barleria prionitis), Archu (Rheum emondi Wall.), Atis (Aconitum heterophyllum), Kaudi (Gentiana kurroo Royle), Salam Panja or Hath Panja (Dactylorhiza hatagirea) etc., but it is almost difficult to quote any commercial level cultivation especially in remote mountain regions. During our 10 years of visiting these remote areas like Harsil, Dhontri, Chaurangi Khal, Bhatwari, by us, we became aware that the locals do have all the traditional knowledge but still are weary of taking up the commercial level mainly because of marketing. Not only medicinal plant, the entire district has huge potential for commercial cultivation of aromatic plants (like Demask Rose and Lemon Grass). As of today, several companies procure the raw material from the locals, then process it and again sell it back to the same region at much higher price. Even in case of procurement, it should be necessary to implement the access benefit sharing mechanism as per biodiversity act of 2002 because all these years the companies who have used locals to collect huge quantities of medicinal plants for a dirt cheap price have never made any contribution towards the local communities. It is thus necessary to initiate a thought process of development of products in area where the raw material is produced which will provide the much needed economic benefits and employment to locals in rural areas. This would also be one of important steps to initiate reverse massive migration that we are witnessing from the mountain regions of Uttarakhand. It is hence important to first develop awareness, sensitize locals and develop a marketing system. This will lead to huge impact on commercial farming of medicinal/aromatic plants in this remote region.

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