Ram Singh Parmar, who cultivates Ashwagandha in Indore, has earned up to Rs 2 lakh from one bigha of crop that cost him approximately Rs 40,000, thanks to Madhya Pradesh government's Devaranya scheme.
Farmers in the state are increasingly turning to the cultivation of medicinal plants that they consider a lucrative cash crop. According to government officials, many big pharmaceutical manufacturers are demanding these medicinal crops.
The scheme, being implemented by the AYUSH department, involves the collection of forest produce by small organisations formed in various districts. The department also plans to establish a platform for the sale of collected forest produce, including medicinal plants. This move aims to create more employment opportunities in the tribal areas of the state.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan recently emphasised the need to change the crop production pattern to reduce crop losses and make agriculture more profitable. “Besides traditional crops, the cultivation of commercial crops like medicinal plants is highly preferable. Efforts are also being made to invest in agriculture-based industries to ensure good prices for farmers and provide employment to local residents,” Chouhan had said.
Prateek Hajela, principal secretary of the AYUSH department, said the cultivation of 52 medicinal crops had been included in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
The scheme is being implemented in districts such as Anuppur, Narmadapuram, Satna, Jhabua, Dindori, Betul, and others. More than 140 self-help groups in 21 development blocks of the state, under the Madhya Pradesh State Rural Livelihood Mission, are cultivating the medicinal plant crops. Companies such as Dabur, Maharishi Ayurveda, OmniActive, Botanic Healthcare, Natural Remedies, and Emami have been approached for market linkages related to medicinal plants.