Govt to set up EPZs for traditional medicines with pvt firms

Govt to set up EPZs for traditional medicines with pvt firms

New Delhi: The Centre has proposed to set up export processing zones for traditional Indian medicines in partnership with private entrepreneurs to boost overseas sales of ethnic herbs, which stood at 900 crore in 2006-07.

A detailed report is being prepared for the zone in Chattisgarh and the project is expected to be operational by next year, Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said here today.

“A processing zone for medicinal plants is proposed to be set up in Chattisgarh and once the pilot project fructifies, we would replicate the model in other states of Andhra Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand," he said at the inauguration of ‘Arogya´, an international fair on alternative systems of Indian medicines.

While the government would provide infrastructure and technical assistance for the zones, investments would come from private entrepreneurs, Ramesh said, adding that the units would cater to both domestic and export markets.

India’s export of herbal plant-based medicines stood at 900 crore in 2006-07. Primary products such as plants, herbs and semi-processed produce constituted 60% of the total exports, while value-added products were a minimal 40%.

“We need to increase the proportion of value-added products in our export basket and ensure that they conform to highest global standards," he said.

Export of medicinal plants has been growing annually at 15%.

Ramesh said it needs to be ensured that modern technology, private investments and world standards are combined to make the Indian traditional system of medicines a scientific one.

Outlining the measures taken to develop traditional medicines in India, Ramesh said the government has approved major expansion of technical manpower for the National Medicinal Plants Board. Allocation of funds for development of alternative medicines has also been increased to 3,988 crore for the 11th plan from 1,000 crore in the 10th plan.

He further said unregulated collection from forest areas would soon be replaced by contract farming and government is working to sort out issues like procurement and marketing for the purpose.