Mumbai: India is planning to grow medicinal plants as an alternative to cultivation of tobacco whose production it is committed to reduce by 50% in the next decade, Union Health and Family Minister Anbumani Ramadoss said today.
“India is committed to reduce tobacco production and manufacturing of its products by 50% by 2020 to comply with the UN Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” he said.
“Growing medicinal plants as an alternative to tobacco plantation is a step in that direction and Rs1,000 crore have been allocated for the same. A part of it has already been sanctioned,” he told reporters at the ongoing World Conference on Tobacco or Health.
Currently, 1,00,000 hectares of land is under tobacco cultivation. With food crisis increasing in the country, the government may ask farmers to grow food crops as an alternative to tobacco, he said.
The Centre is making all efforts to put this land under cultivation for medicinal plants and other crops so that the farmers do not lose their job, he said.
The Health Ministry is jointly working with Commerce and Labour Ministry for growing alternative crops as well as rehabilitate the bidi rollers in the small and cottage industries, Ramadoss said.