Co-op society in Kerala takes up medicinal plant cultivation as a project on commercial scale to support Ayurveda industryRead Now
A co-operative society of farmers at Mattatthur village in Thrissur district in Kerala has taken up medicinal plants/herbs cultivation as a project on commercial scale to support Ayurveda industry and singed a buyback agreement with major ayurveda drugs manufacturing companies for long standing business.
However, major supply of the raw drugs will be made to the government owned manufacturing company, Oushadhi, which now procures raw materials mostly from north India.
The society, Mattathur Labourers Co-Operative Society, which has 110 trained member farmers of herbal farming, has several projects in medicinal cultivation and marketing. The secretary of the Society, K P Prashanth, said there is high demand for medicinal plants and the society will be able to meet bulk demands of the drug manufacturers in the state from next year. Even now, the society is collecting plants and herbs from tribal settlement areas and sell them to Kottakkal Aryavaidyasala, Sitaram Ayurveda Pharmacy, Thrissur and Vaidyaratnam Ayurveda Vaidyasala at Ollur. He said the growers and collectors of plants and herbs now get Rs. 100 each for one kg of raw drugs. The amount will increase once the Society starts collection of the produce from the farmers.
According to Dr. K Ramanathan, general secretary of the Thrissur based Ayurveda medicine Manufacturers’ Organization of India (AMMOI), the efforts of the cooperative society will solve the problem of short supply of medicinal plants to the manufacturing units. He said all the manufacturers are procuring raw drugs from various sources, including agencies from north India. Once the Mattathur society starts supply, the manufacturers will get quality raw drugs in large quantity and it will support the production of all kinds of drugs in Ayurveda.
The society is getting financial aid from National Medicinal Plant Board through its state branch. With the first phase of the aid, they bought 50 acres of land in various block punchayaths. In the next two years, the cultivation will be extended to three acres. With this, the society can venture into large scale business with north Indian manufacturers of all ayush drugs, said Prashanth.
As per the agreement with the Ayurveda companies, the farmers are now cultivating 13 variety of plants such as Asparagus racemosus (shathavari), Plumbago Indica (koduveli), Rauvolfia Serpentina (sarpagandhi), Justicia Adathoda (Adalodakam), Plectranthus Hardiensis var.Tomentosus (iruveli), Holostemma ada-kodien (adapathiyan), Strobilanthes Ciliatus (karimkurinji), Andrographis Peniculata (kiriyathu), Kaempferia Galanga (kacholam), Sida Alnifolia (kurunthotti), Tragia Involucrata (kodithuva), Trichosanthes Cucumerina (kattupadavalam), Desmodium Gangeticum (orila) and Pseudarthria Viscida (moovila). All these are essential raw drugs for the major medicines mentioned in the Ayurveda pharmacopoeia.
In accordance with the buyback agreement, each company will provide advance amount to the society which will be spent for the expenses for cultivation. Dr. Ramanathan said, in another six months time, all the 680 Ayurveda manufacturers in Kerala will have tie-up with the Mattathur cooperative society for a long standing agreement for plant collection.
The farmers of herbs and medicinal plants were till now getting only low prices for their produce, but when they become members of the Society they will get good prices. But the losers will be the collectors in the tribal settlement areas, said Prashanth.