Can Medicinal And Aromatic Plants Improve Livelihood Of Farmers?

Can Medicinal And Aromatic Plants Improve Livelihood Of Farmers?

Zizira explorers ‘discovered’ the world of essential oils after a visit to CIMAP, Bangalore. That was in March 2016. Once back home we seem to be discovering more and more about the Medicinal and Aromatic plants (MAPs) that can and could grow in Meghalaya. We cannot wait to share the news with all of you! Please read on…

Did you know that a variety of wintergreen, a valuable aromatic plant, is found in the wild in this region?
Wintergreen-bush
Wintergreen bush growing in the wild near Shillong, Meghalaya
We would love to hear from you to know the type and the quantity you are looking for. A new entrant like Zizira maybe a valuable partner who can work with you to meet your standards in essential oils. Our ethics and values will continue to be high - no different from what we follow in our parent company - Chillibreeze Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Try us out. We will be happy to connect with potential buyers.

See What Else We Discovered About Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (Maps)

The Integrated Basin Development and Livelihood Promotion Programme (IBDLP) had tried to identify crops that could provide better livelihood for farmers of Meghalaya. That was in 2013. Guess what? The Medicinal & Aromatic Plants made the first list - they were the first group of focus crops selected to help promote sustainable livelihoods for the people of the Meghalaya.

Download the 54 Rare Medicinal plants available in Meghalaya and their traditional uses

The chronology of events went thus:
  • The Meghalaya Basin Development Authority, the agency that is responsible for implementing the programmes under IBDLP entered into a synergistic association with CSIR-National Botanical Research Institute, Lucknow in December 2012, to work to identify crops that could boost the economic conditions of the farmers of the Northeast region.
  • This alliance set up a center of excellence in the Bio-Resources Development Center and a group of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants suitable for this region were tested there. CIMAP, Lucknow took the responsibility of introducing these plants to BRDC
A report of the Meghalaya Basin Development says: Based on the soil and climatic conditions of the State and potential of MAPs, CIMAP and NBRI finalized to evaluate the following crops at the experimental farm of BRDC. Artemisia annua, Geranium, damask Rose, Lemongrass, citronella, peppermint and Vettiver!
Artemisia-annua
Artemisia Annua being grown in BRDC, Shillong. The essential oil is valuable and is being used in Chinese herbal medicines for centuries. This aromatic plant will grow well in Meghalaya.
This was like wow for Zizira explorers! They discover that growing aromatic herbs could fetch farmers a higher return and very soon after that we find that this idea comes validated – as the same has been recommended way back in 2013 by Government agencies working for farmers.

Not surprising that the excitement level with the Zizira team is running a little high these days. It will continue to till we work our way through all that is to be known about the potential of essential oil from Medicinal and Aromatic Plants and how we can translate that into an improved livelihood for farmers of Meghalaya to start with.

geranium-at-BRDC
A variety of Geranium known for its essential oil in a test plot in BRDC, Shillong. It grows well in cool climates and needs very little care.

Mentha-Oil-from-Mentha-Arvensis
Mentha Piperita or Peppermint. India is a leader in peppermint oil exports. Dried in the sun it can make very nice herbal tea.

Next questions for the Zizira explorers and the business development unit of Zizira is to come up with a plan –  which plants? How to take it to the farmers?  And so on. Also to look into what it will take to set up a steam distillation unit. One hears of support being given by both the Center and the State Governments to the agricultural sector in the Northeast region.

We plan to find out more, whether they support setting up post-harvest processing units, farm level training etc. We need to find out whether  Zizira will be eligible. Zizira explorers will find out and keep you posted. Do follow our explorations, the resulting discoveries and stories.

And, why not join us on this journey of exploration for potential opportunities for farmers of Northeast India by giving us your feedback or leads? Why not Sign up for our newsletter.


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