Farmers, tribes will sell raw material to the industry in an open market, avoiding middlemen
The Ayurveda industry is embarking on an initiative to link herbal drug manufacturing units with tribal councils and farmers, to eliminate middlemen and ensure the supply of raw material through sustainable exploitation of medicinal plant resources.
Piloted by Care Keralam, (Confederation for Ayurvedic Renaissance-Keralam Limited), the industry body of herbal product manufacturers in the State, the project involves a mandi (open market) system where farmers and tribes can sell their produce directly to the industry. It also proposes a buyback agreement between the farmers and the industry.
“The mechanism will help avoid fleecing by middlemen and the cultivators will be assured of fair price, prompt payment and marketing support,” says Tito Thomas, Senior Manager, Medicinal Plants Promotion Centre, Care Keralam.
“Integrating the cultivation, procurement and distribution systems is key to the success of the scheme.”
A planning committee comprising representatives of the industry, farmers and experts has been proposed to ensure a support price mechanism and a sustainable distribution network.
Pointing out that unsustainable exploitation had led to the disappearance of many medicinal plant species from the areas bordering forests, Mr. Thomas said a distributed system of procurement would ensure availability and prevent price fluctuations.
The concept note adds that collection of herbs from forest areas would also help avoid quality issues caused by pesticide and mercury contamination in farmed herbs.
In a communication to member units, Care Keralam has outlined steps to attract tribal councils and farmers to the initiative by supporting welfare programmes.