Agri Business

Area under medicinal plants drops in last five years

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on March 12, 2021

Rauvolfia, a medicinal plant also known as Sarpagandhi. (file photo)

But value of exports from their produce has risen

The area under the cultivation of medicinal plants has dropped but the export value of produce from the plants has gone up in the last five years, the Union Government has told Parliament.

The market-driven cultivation of prioritised medicinal plants in identified cluster/zones within select districts is being taken up under the ‘medicinal plants’ component of the NAM (National AYUSH Mission) scheme by the Union Ministry of AYUSH.

The scheme support is provided for the cultivation of prioritised medicinal plants on farmer’s land; for the establishment of nurseries with backward linkages for raising and supply of quality planting material; for post-harvest management with forward linkages; and for primary processing, marketing infrastructure, etc.

Under this scheme, a subsidy of 30 per cent, 50 per cent, and 75 per cent of cultivation cost of specific plant species is respectively provided for the cultivation of 140 medicinal plants.


Though a total area of 48,040 hectare has been supported for the cultivation of medicinal plants under NAM from 2015-16 to 2019-20, nearly one-fourth of this was done in 2016-17.

From 8,509.91 hectares in 2015-16, the cultivation area under the scheme went up to 12,462.249 hectares in 2016-17. The area decreased from 10,328.52 hectares in 2017-18 to 6,794.12 hectares in 2019-20.

Uttar Pradesh leads

Uttar Pradesh (UP), Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Andhra Pradesh (AP) took the lead in bringing 1,898 hectares, 2,518 hectares, and 1,513.2645 hectares under medicinal plants cultivation, respectively, in 2016-17.

In fact, more than two-thirds of the total area under medicinal plants in the country was from UP in 2018-19. Of the total area of 9,945.47 hectares that year, the share of UP was at 3,633.44 hectares. Interestingly UP’s share was zero in 2019-20, though no explanation was given for that in the reply.

West Bengal, which brought 107 hectares for medicinal plants cultivation under the scheme in 2015-16, gradually increased the area under cultivation to 748.38 hectares in 2019-20.

Export value up

Inspite of the reduction in the area under NAM’s scheme and the decline in the export volume, the value of the exported commodities has gone up in the five years from 2015-16 to 2019-20.

According to the Centre’s reply, India exported 15,971.307 tonnes of herbs under ITC HS codes 1211 in 2015-16. This came down to 10,797.243 tonnes in 2019-20. However, the value of the exports increased from $23.25 million in 2015-16 to $26.69 million in 2019-20.

The reply gave details about some ITC HS codes starting from 1211.

Export of Chirata (ITC HS code 12119091) came down from 25.25 tonnes in 2015-16 to 4.6 tonnes in 2019-20. The value of export also came down from $22,187 to $12,427 during the period.

Though the export of Tukmaria (ITC HS code 12119092) increased from 730.83 tonnes in 2015-16 to 968.63 tonnes in 2019-20, the value of export came down from $89,304 to $68,626 during the period.

Under NAM scheme, the government has extended financial assistance to the tune of ₹191.64 crore in the last five years for the cultivation of medicinal plants by farmer across the country by providing subsidy for 140 identified medicinal plants.

AP (₹12.40 crore), MP (₹21.04 crore), UP (₹24.09 crore), West Bengal (₹11.34 crore) and Tamil Nadu (₹11.04 crore) were some of the major beneficiaries of the scheme during these five years.


Published on March 11, 2021

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