Advisors Skandan, Sharma, Kumar attend workshop on ‘Cultivation and Utilization of Medicinal Plants’ at SKUAST-K

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Srinagar: The Advisors to Governor, K Skandan, KK Sharma and K Vijay Kumar today attended one-day state level workshop on “Cultivation and Utilization of Medicinal Plants” in Jammu and Kashmir State.

The workshop titled ‘State Level Workshop on Medicinal Plants and Other Non-Timber Forest Products’ was jointly organized by Sher-e-Kashmir University of Sciences and Technology (SKUAST-K) and J&K Forest Department at SKAUST here.

Speaking on the occasion, Advisor to Governor K Skandan said medicinal plants have been used in all cultures as a source of medicine. “There is a need for making the the knowledge available to everyone and everybody should have access to this knowledge,” the Advisor told the workshop participants.

He said the dearth of knowledge on the identity and agro-technology of the plants was adding hurdles in medicinal plant cultivation. Advisor Skandan also pointed out that he always suggested the agriculture experts to develop a suitable application for farmers in local language where a lot of intervention and interaction can happen so that a farmer gets to know through the app about the modern techniques and technology. He also suggest for the creation of institutional basis where a farmer can go in person and try to avail the benefits.

“We have to come down to the level where we can easily approach the farmer in terms of technology and holistic approach to cross the hurdles for them,” he said, adding the stakeholders must focus on micro-management so that everybody can come together and can do work for the farmer community.

Meanwhile, Advisor KK Sharma, who holds Science & Technology Department, highlighted that the human society was undergoing changes and the economic part of the society was shifting towards organic and natural sources.

Advisor Sharma said that from Government’s side there is a need for convergence among different departments like agriculture department, science and technology department, forest department and agriculture universities (SKUAST) where all departments would work together.

He said that the Government and other organisations should work on the strategies on how to take the medicinal plant cultivation down to the village panchayats.

Advisor K Vijay Kumar, while addressing the workshop said that there was a need to have a possible market for farmers, ease of doing business, the establishment of regional mandis and how would a farmer sell their products if there are restrictions in place for the commercialization of certain medicinal plant varieties.

He pointed out that medicinal plants are a farmer-friendly, easy to cultivate and high end if the farmers have availability of primary processing and marketing infrastructure.

Advisor Kumar, who holds Forest, Ecology & Environment, said the focus should also be given on the incentives to potential farmers for cultivation of medicinal plants and assured market, suggesting a single platform to these farmers and one settlement for aroma and medicinal plants.

He said the medicinal plant cultivation would change the economic scene of J&K State and will greatly contribute to its economy and wealth with employment generation and livelihood.

Earlier, Vice Chancellor of SKUAST-K, Nazeer Ahmad, while giving the overview of the medicinal plants in J&K State, said medicinal plant species are gaining importance in recent years.

He also informed the workshop that 572 medical plants varieties are present in J&K of which two dozen are being used commercially for high-grade drugs while generating a lot of income and livelihood.

He also informed the workshop that there are certain species which are under tremendous pressure due to over-exploitation and are under the verge of extension.

Speaking on the occasion, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Suresh Chugh said all the stakeholders are being called and discussions were being held threadbare so that the medical plants cultivation would become a vibrant sector in J&K. He said it will eventually play an important role in economy in J&K, adding medicinal plants in the State can be exploited and are commercially viability and people can get huge economic benefits. He said forest department is developing nurseries in the state as 90 percent medicinal plants are coming from wild source and rest is from cultivated areas.

On the occasion, a dozen presentations were given by experts on the cultivation and utilization of medicinal plants in J&K.

Later, three publications titled ‘Medicinal Plants of J&K, Annual Progress Report of Ayush and ‘Agro Technology of Medicinal Plants’ was also released during the occasion.

Commissioner/Secretary of Forests, Environment & Ecology, Manoj Dwivedi, VC SKUAST-J, K S Risam, scientists, scholars, and head of faculties among others also attended the workshop.

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