Telangana endowed with ideal terrain for medicinal plants’ cultivation
The dry and arid zones in Telangana can provide ideal terrain for cultivating some varieties of medicinal and aromatic plants. These plants require less water and can be grown in areas where there is lack of irrigation sources.
Converting adversity into advantage
The dry and arid zones in Telangana can provide ideal terrain for cultivating some varieties of medicinal and aromatic plants. These plants require less water and can be grown in areas where there is lack of irrigation sources. According to Dr. J Kotesh Kumar, Scientist-in-charge, Hyderabad Research Centre, Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), Telangana’s soil is suitable for cultivation of aromatic plants like lemon grass, palm rosa and citronella.
The oils extracted from these plants have both aromatic and medicinal value. These products have immense popularity and have a sizeable market in India and abroad. Apart from the dry regions, the state’s black soil is also conducive for the Ashwagandha cultivation. Aswagandha which is famous for its pharmacological properties is used in the treatment of wide range of ailments. Elucidating on the advantages and economic feasibility of these plants, Dr. J Kotesh said that apart from minimum water requirements the investment on cultivation is much lower than that of other regular crops.
“For instance, the same quantum of water used for one acre of paddy can be utilised for cultivating Aswagandha in 7 to 8 acres.” He further informed that farmers can also take up inter-cropping or rotation of crops with these plants. Citing the tremendous success achieved by Aswagandha farmers in some water-starved locations of Kurnool and Anantapur , Dr.Kotesh said that that the Poshitha variety promoted by CIMAP which was grown only on 4 acres of land in these two districts of Andhra Pradesh when it was first introduced.
But now, Poshitha is being grown on 10,000 acres in these two districts and farmers are getting good returns. In addition to limited water usage, Aswagandha is pest-resistant which means that they do not require the use of pesticides. The only significant investment is on labour during harvest because roots are the vital parts of this plant. Elaborating on the economic aspects, Dr.Kotesh informed that the overall investment on Aswagandha cultivation is between Rs.10,000 and Rs.12,000 per acre.
The yield per acre is 2 quintals per acre. With the market price per kg ranging between Rs.200 to Rs.250, the farmers can earn an income of Rs.40,000 per acre.” On the question why farmers are adapting to medicinal and aromatic plant cultivation despite its many advantages, he said that lack of awareness coupled with want of market support could be the contributory factors to farmers not taking up cultivation of medicinal plants. Dr. Kotesh however added that the farmers are now evincing interest in medicinal plants.
Dr. Kotesh informed that turmeric variety with more curcuminoid content CIM-Pitamber, which was recently developed and released for commercial use, will be introduced in Telangana soon. Curcuminoid, a substance derived from turmeric, is credited with anti-cancer properties, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging anti-diabetic properties. CIM-Pitamber will have 50% more yield than the existing varieties of turmeric and its cultivation.
By Satyapal Menon
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