JORHAT, Oct 3 - The Vice Chancellor of Assam Agricultural University Dr KM Bujarbaruah has observed that with Assam and the north-eastern region having huge stock of bio-resources for being a major part of biodiversity hotspot, there was much scope for development of a bio-economy in the region.
Addressing the 26th annual group meeting of the all India coordinated research project on medicinal and aromatic plants and betelvine at the AAU here recently, the Vice Chancellor called for streamlining of the medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation sector and strict monitoring in respect of quantity, quality and imports.
�We do not know about the demand, supply and how much is supplied from the forests, wastelands, kitchen gardens and imports... but we are aware that medicinal plants are not cultivated in sufficient quantity to be of commercial interest,� Dr Bujarbaruah said.
He said that there was a vast scope of developing a bio-economy in the region if steps were taken to streamline the medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation sector.
The VC announced that the AAU had been given two big projects by the Union Ministry of AYUSH and the third was in the pipeline.
Speaking about one of the projects, Dr Bujarbaruah said that under each of the 23 Krishi Vigyan Kendras of the AAU, 10,000 hectares of land would be brought under medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation and market linkages would be established so that farmers took to cultivating the herbs and received high returns.
In this context, he said that as contract farming had become legal, private companies that were already in the business could be tapped.
T Janakiram, ADG (HS), ICAR, New Delhi, addressing the gathering on the occasion as the chief guest, said that China�s contribution to the global medicinal plant market is about 15 per cent, whereas India�s share is negligible with a 0.5 per cent share.
He said that the need of the hour is to work out a strategy to compete globally. Janakiram urged upon the VC to press the Assam government to formulate a horticultural and medicinal plant policy for the State. Delegates from 23 AICRP centres participated and more than 25 publications from different centres were released on the occasion.