Our Bureau

Hyderabad, Sept. 14

THE Central Institute for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) will organise a three-day programme to educate prospective entrepreneurs and other stakeholders on the opportunities in medicinal and aromatic crops.

The programme will begin on September 28 at CIMAP's Boduppal facility near here.

Of the 49,000 species of plants, about 8,000 were known to be medicinal. Indian systems of medicine used around 2,500 plant species and industry tapped 800 species. Of these, only 25 per cent were cultivated.

According to a CIMAP release, the Indian market size for plant-based crude drugs was about Rs 4,300 crore, besides annual exports to the tune of Rs 1,256 crore.

The Planning Commission had pegged the potential at Rs 40,000 crore.

A Task Force constituted by the Commission recommended a strategy to increase export of herbal products to the tune of Rs 10,000 crore by 2010, besides meeting the domestic needs.

Globally, the demand for medicinal plants and their derivatives was growing at 7-15 per cent, the release, quoting an Exim Bank estimate, said.

A WHO (World Health Organisation) estimated that about 80 per cent of the people in developing countries relied on traditional plant-based drugs for their primary health care.

With regard to aroma plants, there were about 2,500 plant species known to contain aromas. But only 250 of them had a consistent demand in the global trade.

The global flavour and fragrance market size was put at Rs 88,000 crore. India ranked first with about 21 per cent of the Rs 4,300 crore global production of essential oils, excluding turpentine oil.

"India has enormous potential cultivating these crops in varied soils and agro-climatic zones," the CIMAP release said.

Besides throwing light on business opportunities, the programme would provide a platform to various stakeholders on different issues such as financing options and marketing options.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated September 15, 2005)
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