New Delhi: An ambitious plan of the Ministry of Health to cover one lakh hectares of land with medicinal plants is likely to generate employment to the tune of six crore man-days.
According to B S Sajwan, CEO of National Medicinal Plant Board, the Centre has earmarked Rs1,000 crore in the 11th Five Year Plan to promote medicinal plants farming in the country and this is expected to generate more employment.
“With an investment of Rs630 crore under the scheme started this year, we are expecting to cover 80,000 to one lakh hectares of land under the cultivation of medicinal herbs, generating employment to the tune of six crore man-days,” Sajwan told PTI.
The government has already announced to provide subsidy ranging from 20 to 75% to farmers producing herbs with medicinal values.
“The subsidy would be given to the farmers depending upon the type of plants, their consumption level in the market and yielding capacity in a particular area.”
Sajwan said the subsidy scheme will be channelized through state horticulture missions which will assess the requirement of financial aid to agricultural communities and nurseries in different parts of the country.
Apart from giving technological guidance, the government will also provide equipment and other assistance to ensure high yield of their produce, he said.
The NMPB has identified at least 90 odd species having high medicinal values with an increasing demand in the market, Sajwan said.
According to him, farmers who take up the cultivation of plants that are easy to grow will get lesser subsidy than those producing difficult medicinal herbs.
The scheme is already being carried out in Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Uttarakhand, Assam, Manipur, Orissa and some other states, he said.
Setting up of centres for cultivation, processing and marketing of such produce in key locations and providing additional assistance for prioritised species are also part of the scheme.