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Table 7 Assessment of problems and remedies for medicinal plant based economic venture in the northern India

From: Developing the medicinal plants sector in northern India: challenges and opportunities

Activity Problems Possible remedy
Cultural system Adoption of traditional medicinal knowledge on preparing herbal medical formulations is declining through generations. Incentives should be given to the traditional herbal healers for preparation of herbal formulations, and attempts should be made to organize them.
  Traditional knowledge on many less known medicinal plant species has declined rapidly. Documentation of such less known medicinal plant species should be made without any further delay.
Collection Continued illegal collection from wild has led to depletion of many important species. Enforcement of existing Acts (e.g. Wildlife Protection Act, Forest Act, Biodiversity Act etc.).
  Mostly collected and processed by un-trained persons. Training should be given for collection and processing.
  Competition for over-stocking has led to over-harvesting. Large-scale farming of medicinal plants should be promoted.
Cultivation Agro-technology is not available for many valuable medicinal plant species.
Development of agro-technology is mainly focused on the low productive and high cost rare and endangered medicinal plant species.
Development of agro-technology and promotion of rural bio-technology for large scale cultivation of economically important species also.
Farmers should be encouraged by providing incentives, training and awareness on the latest developments and policies related to the medicinal plants.
Selection of planting material for cultivation should be based on their habitats, locality, climate and elevations.
  High risk in farming, long gestation period, and low prices of medicinal plants discourage farmers to cultivate medicinal plants. Introduction of mixed cropping system to reduce the risk
  Issuing license or permit to farmers for growing medicinal plants is a time consuming process, and farmers are sometime not aware of the process. Process of issuing permits for cultivation of medicinal plants should be made easier and faster.
  Small and scattered land holdings of the farmers, and cultivation is restricted to small plots near the farmer's houses. Restoration of barren lands and allocation of land at one place based on farmer's choice and consensus.
  Unavailability or low availability of irrigation facility Rain water harvesting and construction of check dams on rivers and rivulets for irrigation purposes
  Lacking of linkages among different stakeholders. Development of capacity building programs for all stakeholders.
Role of Biotechnology Low success rate in developing planting materials. Need of in-depth research to enhance the rate of success.
  Low yield unable to meet the commercial needs. Development of high yielding varieties.
Marketing The supply chain of medicinal plants is quite large and primary producers are dependent on the middlemen and still they face difficulty in selling the product. Direct selling to industry by producers should be encouraged. Buy-back arrangements between farmers and pharmaceutical companies might be useful.
  Improper sharing of benefits due to lack of awareness among farmers and herb collectors on the real prices of medicinal plant. Need of diffusion of information by distribution of pamphlets and conducting awareness programs on various aspects of medicinal plants.
  Lacking of well-planned marketing infrastructure for medicinal plants. Development of infrastructure with the help of various stakeholders including medicinal plants board.
Bio-prospecting Low awareness on the values of resources and traditional knowledge. Documentation of traditional knowledge on medicinal plants and their uses.
  The younger generations of herbal practitioners are not keen to adopt the tradition as a profession. Renew the available herbal formulations by standardizing their efficacy, and to establish a Social Capital Trust for herbal practitioners in order to promote the tradition.
  Unequal distribution of profits to the low profile stakeholders such as farmers and herb gatherers. Sharing of benefits should be on the basis of labor and efforts.
Conservation Essential health commodity and maximum dependency on wild stock. Setting up medicinal plants conservation areas.
  Encroachment by outsiders and illegal collection from wild. Enforcement of Forest and Wildlife Protection (Acts).