CONSERVATION AND GENERATION OF IMPORTANT MEDICINAL PLANTS
Jammu and Kashmir is currently having the population of 12655352 in which 2531070 people fall under below poverty line and appox. 23 lakh are in rural areas. This state of India called ‘Paradise on Earth’ has always been a political issue and part of one or the other controversies. It is known that this area is rich in natural resources but has not yet developed in the field of science and technology which could be the main source of development.
The Kashmir region which is known for its beauty is also treasure of various natural resources. One of such renewed expression of natural resource is pushmina fabrics. Apart from pashmina fabrics valley is also famous for variety of important medicinal plants viz saffron (Crocus sativus), Conium maculatum, Acotinumheterophyllum, Artemisia absinthium, etc. Tribal people are practicing from centuries to use these plants as a medicine for different ailments and this practice was a source of income and livelihood for many people in tribal areas. Unfortunately we have lost many of these plants due to urbanization and partly because people in tribal areas stopped working with these plants due to globalization and development of chemically synthesized drugs. So due to all these reasons slowly we lost the treasure of natural resources and it became confined to some old people in these tribal areas. Due to harmful side effects of chemically synthesized drugs and also because many drugs cannot be synthesized in labs. We need to concentrate and prevent these pricelessplants from being extinct. The proposal intends to get on to the feet wherein experts would use different conventional and scientific methods for conservation of medicinal plants.
As we know, Kashmir is one of the cold estregions of Himalaya and the season of valley has plenty of variations like cold temperature, heavy rains and snowfall. With the result common people are suffering a lot and every year huge losses are being faced by us as well as research is being affected, “Due to non-availability of high-tech green houses, so many valuable plants die due to extensive heat or cold. So we request Govt of Jammu and Kashmir as well as central Govt to provide us proper support in order to conserve and generate these important medicinal plants of our state.
- Organizational background:
The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre Was established in 1992 in Azizabad village, Pampore in Pulwama , by botanist Sheikh Gulzaar and Dr Sheikh RafiyaBasheer and MasratGulzaar along with Sheikh Ashraf . The family run institution clocked an annual turnover of Rs. 17 to 19 lakhs in 2012-13.It produces a range of organic based high value fruit plants, including Corylus avellana, Lycium barbarum &Actinidia deliciosa, medicinal plants of Angelica glauca, Ginkgo biloba, Aesculus indica, Arctium lappa , Artemisia absinthium, Asparagus officinalis, Atropa acumiata, Atropa belladoona, Bixa orellana, Buxus wallichiana, Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium,Cichorium intybus, Colchium luteum, Digitalis purpurea, Ferula asafoetida, Gmelina arborea, Hyoscyamus niger, Inula racemosa, Lavatera cashmeriana, Marrubium vulgare ,Medicago sativa, Melasia officinalis, Taxus bacatta and Viola odorata.
Specialized in producing fruits and medicinal plants. Annual production is 50 thousand plants. A Medicinal Plant Conservation Area – The main aim of Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre is to conserve the medicinal plants in its natural habitat and preserve its gene pool. JKMPIC is a stretch of natural vegetation having within it various types of habitat and microclimates. They are established in different biogeographic zones in co- operation with the State Forest Departments. JKMPIC program is a national effort, exclusively to study the medicinal plants in the natural habitats and to develop strategies for management of rare endangered and vulnerable species.
Jammu & Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre proudly announce its affiliation with organic farming association of India, Jammu & Kashmir Medicinal plants Introduction Centre is the first institution from J&K to get recognized and listed in Biology for NEET & Other Medical Entrance Examinations 3rd Edition.
The institution has received about 7,880 applications since 1994 for giving full descriptions regarding such plants as well as identity, birth, botanical information, family structure and its benefits as well. “We have been given letter of originty, Phytosanitary information & letter of authenticity , with the result such research fellows have been absolutely helped in carrying over their research forward”. Sheikh Gulzaar added. .We have also introduced this year ready –to-use medicinal plants along with fruit plants,” says Sheikh Gulzaar. He is a well-known botanist and has 21+ years of experience in research & development in medicinal plants and is interested to meet the expectations and needs of the nation.
The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre is actively working in country as well as abroad. Sheikh Gulzaar has spent most of his life on Himalayan Mountain, river banks and travelling for recognition, identification and conservation of important medicinal plants. The institution has supplied medicinal plants to about 34 thousand research institutions and individuals till dat. This way it has helped the researchers of our country in carrying out research, but has provided such plants to them time to time. Specialization in producing fruits and medicinal plants. Annual production is 50 thousand plants. Organization has earned good fame in the country as well as has given training to so many unemployed and educated youth of the country hence in this way they are able to earn their livelihood”.
“Organization has also secured hundreds of seeds from Europe, Middle East and Africa and has planted them in different areas. Seeds have been obtained from these medicinal plants as well. But it becomes very difficult to grow these seeds as they require a neat and clean atmosphere.
Main Markets covered:The organization mainly supplies its products to Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore.Organization also exportedTaxusbacatta ,Viola odorata , Bixaorellana fruit and medicinal seeds to North America. Organization has also exported Ginkgo biloba to Pakistan and is also planning to export to Gulf countries next year.Our medicinal seed production capacity is 200-500 kg per year.
Manpower: There are two technicians with high school qualification working in the production of plants. Organization also have two plant introduction centers, one in Ramban and one in Kishtwar ,managed by M.Sc. biotechnology people with 5 regular employees.
- Future prospects:
- The organization plans to do large scale production of fruit and medicinal plants at tourist spots in near future.
- Establishment of botanical gardens with different varieties of medicinal plants
- Conservation and generation of important medicinal plants
- Marketing products at national and international level
- Obstacles in current progress:
- State Govt. has not helped our organization so far. In order to achieve our goals organization requires sophisticated labs and high tech facilities so that our jobs would become easy.
- Research institutions, Universities and organizations should identify the problems of our agriculture and take steps to solve these problems.
- Organization is dependent upon organic fertilizers i.e. biomass, peat, manure plant leaves, tree barks. But to obtain such items organization has to face lot of problems.
- Availability of fertile and suitable land for these plants is an issue. These plants require a clean place to grow and a high altitude.
- Economic development of Jammu and Kashmir is directly dependent upon these important medicinal plants. Because the two most important concerns in present world are medicine and food which are obtained from plants.
- Medicinal plant conservation strategies need to be understood and planned for execution on an understanding of indigenous knowledge and practices.
- Justification for undertaking the proposed project:
Since the proposers of the project hail from the state of Jammu and Kashmir and have been in touch with the ongoing scenario in the valley and are well aware about measures taken by government for conservation of medicinal plants. The measures taken by Govt. are not good enough to fulfill the requirement as it requires lot of expertize and manpower. As the proposer of this project is an experienced botanist and has around 20 years of experience in research and development and conservation and cultivation of medicinal plants. Proposer along with his team of young and enthusiastic people have come forward to take up the responsibility of conservation, cultivation and generation of medicinal plants to conserve as well as economic development of state. In order to achieve the task organization requires a full support and co-operation from state Govt. As it would help our state to generate employment and play an important role in economic development of state as well.
- Assistance required from state government:
Assistance from state Govt is required in following areas:
Allotment of Land: Most of important medicine plants of our state are present or grown at very high altitudes and places which are calm, clear and away from residential places. Due to variations in climatic conditions and biotic and abiotic stresses most of these plants have either extinct or have become endangered. So it is need of the hour to look for in situ conservation of medicinal plants.
As already mentioned that these plants grow at a high altitude, which covers most of the forest area of our state. The lands in these areas belong to Government of our state. In order to achieve above feat we request our state government to allot a land of 5 hectares which will be used to conserve and cultivate important medicinal plants at large scale.
Establishment of greenhouses:
Green house are used to maintain the optimum temperature for medicinal plants to grow in a healthy way. It also prevents plants from biotic and a biotic stresses. As plants would be collected from different places and regions of our state and across world, these plants require different environmental conditions which cannot be provided in normal environmental conditions. In order to grow different plants from different places in one place we need to maintain a proper environment which can be provided through green houses.
High tech greenhouses need to be established inside the allotted land to provide a proper environment for growth of these plants.
Proper water and power facility:
Water and electricity are two important requirements for carrying out said task. Water is required for irrigation of plants without which plants would die. Different plants need and use water in a different way. Some plants need less water and some need more. So a continuous supply of water is very important factor.
Likewise electricity is also an important factor to keep plants live and in a healthy condition. So continuous supply electricity is required.
Establishment of shed and living rooms:
Sheds need to be established in different places in land for storing different kinds of requirements for medicinal plants. A small flat for four people to stay there. As some people are required to take care of plants and irrigate and add organic fertilizers to plants time and again. So a small flat or a living place for four people should be provided.
Fencing for protection:
Fencing throughout land is needed in order to protect land from wild as well as domestic animals which otherwise would destroy plants either by grazing or physical damage to plants. So fencing must be started first to protect land.
- Expected outcome:
Eco-tourism: Economic development of state through eco-tourism. Eco-tourism could be the best idea to attract tourists from across the globe. It would not only boost economy but also make our state biodiversity rich wherein we can supply plants to across the globe.
The idea behind eco-tourism is to generate revenue for tourism and forest departments as it would help their departments in conserving this natural treasure. It would make their departments work efficiently.
Exhibition and Sale of medicinal, ornamental and fruit plants and trees:
Science fares and exhibition would be conducted time and again in order to aware people about science and technology and train them about identification and classification techniques. Awareness among people about different medicinal, ornamental and fruit plants and trees. People would be taught about different methods of conservation and cultivation which would bring interest among masses about conservation.
Plants would be kept for sale for people who would be ready to buy plants. It would also help in the economic development of our state.
Establishment of botanical garden:
Botanical gardens would be established for conservation of germplasm and complete information related to plants would be provided. Important medicinal, ornamental and fruit plants would be conserved in these gardens.
Generation of employment:
Execution of project requires a lot of manpower and expertizes which would open opportunity for young and enthusiastic employed youths. All unemployed youths would be given permanent positions and would be paid from income generated by organization from said project. As project would move forward it would generate a lot of employment and revenue for state which would create opportunity for more youths.
By conducting exhibitions, science fares, establishment of botanical gardens and training would encourage youths of our state to take up active participation in research and development. Research and development is really an important area which needs to be taken up seriously. Our state is lacking behind from other parts of our country in this area. Research and development is responsible for bringing up development in any state or country.
Vegetables for local people:
Some part of land can be utilized for production of vegetables. Vegetables would add up more revenue for the organization as well as for state. We don’t need to get vegetables from other states as we can start producing our own vegetables.
- Funding agency:
Funding for carrying out this project would be generated from National Medicinal Plant Board (NMPB)/State Medicinal Plants Board
- Area of concern:
If incase our organization is not able to take proper care of land or medicinal plants then whole land along with medicinal plants would be submitted to Govt of Jammu and Kashmir