“Heath for All” continues to be a distant dream for India despite increased life expectancy in general. Health problems are also increasing due to air, water and soil pollutions causing allergies, diabetes, arthritics, neurological and memory disorders. This will adversely affect the quality of life, productivity and the well-being of future generations. Medicinal and Aromatic Plants, and their derivatives are used for prevention as well as curing of human health problems (diseases and disorders) since time immemorial, and there is global resurgence now in use of plant based drugs where modern drugs are either unavailable, unaffordable or unsatisfactory. MAPs are also increasingly recognized as source of significant livelihood opportunities for many rural communities, especially, primitive forest-dependent tribes, landless poor and marginalized farmers. But the every stakeholder playing role in MAPs sector is facing problems; farmers are unable to cultivate medicinal plants in large scale due to lack of knowledge, availability of quality planting material and proper market; pharmaceutical companies are unable to maintain the quality in their drugs due to variation in raw drug materials; traders facing the problem due to fluctuation in demand and supply and policy support. Besides these, in the last 50 years, the era of green revolution, we have been losing area as well as diversity of MAP at an alarming rate due to promoting monoculture of rice and wheat with large doses of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
Under these situations, cultivation of MAPs with good agricultural practices can fulfill the quality assurance. However, this requires a strategic plan, which takes a holistic view of the entire situation from sustainable utilization to economic development, conservation of vital biodiversity, crop diversification of the existing cropping systems and marketing. In addition to this, certification and labeling of production and processing quality, R&D support, commercialization and investment, policies and risk management are the other common goals of MAP sector to be addressed.
India is now in the process of preparing its 12th five year economic plan to lead the nation on economic prosperity, it is the stage to discuss the issues related to MAP sector, for integrating them in rural development for sustainability in growth. Therefore, a national conference on “Integration of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants for Rural Development and Prosperity” is going to be organized at the Directorate of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Research (Indian Council of Agricultural Research, Govt. of India), Anand, Gujarat during January 22-23, 2013 on behalf of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants Association of India, Anand, Gujarat .
Dr. S. Ayyappan
Director General (ICAR) &
New Delhi 110 114.
Dr. A.M. Shekh
Anand Agricultural University
Dr. Satyabrata Maiti
Director,DMAPR & President, MAPAI Boriavi, Anand Gujarat 387 310.