Around 75 budding entrepreneurs, many of whom are cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants in different districts, who attended the entrepreneurship development programme (EDP) in Patna organized by the Bihar Industries Association with the support of the state industries department, were apprised of the opportunities to cultivate medicinal and aromatic plants.
Opportunities came in store for the farmers ever since the Central government banned procurement of medicinal and aromatic plants from forests and created a National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB) to encourage the farmers-entrepreneurs to grow them, process their produce for marketing nationally and globally, said Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Growers' Association (Bihar) general secretary Krishna Prasad while presenting the theme of the programme course.
A renowned medicinal and aromatic plant consultant from Madhya Pradesh Consultancy (MPCON), a subsidiary of IFCI, Gopal Singh Jariyar explained the techniques, what plants to select for cultivation, in which type of soil, in the different agro-climates and the market destinations to the farmer and entrepreneurs
He said that the leaves of medicinal plant Stevia are processed to make sugar free (herbal) sweeteners for diabetes patients, roots of Coleus plant reduce cholesterol level and obesity. He told TOI that Stevia powder, , tea coating, sweetener, bottle gourd and Stevia extract, Stevia Lemon are being processed as low caloric health drink and moved into the market. He said that Aloe Vera is the renowned herb with its 170 products in the market for multifarious use as anti-wrinkle, anti-mark, and anti-pimple cream and soap. Besides, there are Aloe Vera products to check diabetes, acidity and obesity, he added.
Manager, research and development, Shree Baidyanath Bhawan, Virendra Singh, spoke about the `Status and Future Prospects of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Bihar'.
Prasad said that the growers in Bihar were cultivating the aromatic plants like `mantha' (used for making cough syrup, balm), lemon grass (contain Vitamin A and lemon flavour), `citronella' (used to make mosquito repellent and insecticide), Tulsi oil (for cough syrup and perfume) and `palma rosa' for fragrance. The medicinal plants being cultivated in Bihar include Coleus (used to treat heart disease and obesity), Aloe Vera, and Pipali (used as medicine for cough, cold and respiratory problems.