email@example.com 1/19/2016 Categories: Agriculture Total Comments 11
A Platform for entrepreneurs, farmers that helps them to identify and collect medicinal plants in their areas, ways if they want to cultivate them and cultivate them in commercial way if interested. This idea is helped by the platform of Smartphone App, Handbook, Webpage, Telephone(Hotline).
We see numerous plants in our locality and very few of us know about those plants. These plants complete its lifecycle and dies. Since time immemorial, people have gathered plant and animal resources for their needs. Among these, medicinal plants play a central role, not only as traditional medicines used in many cultures, but also as trade commodities, which meet the demand of local and often distant markets. But most people are not much conscious about its benefits economically and medically. There are lots of medicinal plants which grow in extreme conditions like cold climate, unknown geographical area and rough terrain. They are not easily identified by people except few local people. There are very few locally available and online research materials that helps to identify the Medicinal Plants. Due to lack of such knowledge people are left unemployed and have to travel in search of work. To overcome this problem we need easily accessible data source that tells the every details like geographical area of abundance, shape, size, nature, colour, use, value etc about those medicinal plants. We need to deploy Website and Telephone Hotline, launch App, publish Handbook so that employment of people (specially local people) is guaranteed.
Similarly, there is also great prospect for produced medicinal plants. Producers can be awared about detailed process of cultivation like climate,geological area for growth and other condition necessary for plants can be made available through the above mentioned technological platforms. Different types of medicinal plants can be cultivated like Aloe vera,Tulsi, Catechu, Olive, Turpeth, Nutmeg, Withania, Cuscus grass, Lan caltrops, Tamarind, Black plum, Wild egg plant, Selinum, Costus, Castor, Lead wort, Herb paris, Stone flower etc. It helps the entrepreneurs, farmer saving their time and money. For cultivation good agricultural practise must be followed.
Seeds and other propagation materials:
Seeds and other propagation materials should be specified, and suppliers of seeds and other propagation materials should provide all necessary information relating to the identity, quality and performance of their products, as well as their breeding history, where possible. The propagation or planting materials should be of the appropriate quality and be as free as possible from contamination and diseases in order to promote healthy plant growth. Planting material should preferably be resistant or tolerant to biotic or abiotic factors.
Care should be taken to exclude extraneous species, botanical varieties and strains of medicinal plants during the entire production process. Counterfeit, substandard and adulterated propagation materials must be avoided.
- Site selection:
Medicinal plant materials derived from the same species can show significant differences in quality when cultivated at different sites, owing to the influence of soil, climate and other factors. These differences may relate to physical appearance or to variations in their constituents, the biosynthesis of which may be affected by extrinsic environmental conditions, including ecological and geographical variables, and should be taken into consideration.
Risks of contamination as a result of pollution of the soil, air or water by hazardous chemicals should be avoided. The impact of past land uses on the cultivation site, including the planting of previous crops and any applications of plant protection products, should be evaluated.
Ecological environment and social impact:
The cultivation of medicinal plants may affect the ecological balance and, in particular, the genetic diversity of the flora and fauna in surrounding habitats. The quality and growth of medicinal plants can also be affected by other plants, other living organisms and by human activities. The introduction of non-indigenous medicinal plant species into cultivation may have a detrimental impact on the biological and ecological balance of the region. The ecological impact of cultivation activities should be monitored over time, where practical.
The social impact of cultivation on local communities should be examined to ensure that negative impacts on local livelihood are avoided. In terms of local income- earning opportunities, small-scale cultivation is often preferable to large-scale production, in particular if small-scale farmers are organized to market their products jointly. If large-scale medicinal plant cultivation is or has been established, care should be taken that local communities benefit directly from, for example, fair wages, equal employment opportunities and capital reinvestment.
Climatic conditions, for example, length of day, rainfall (water supply) and field temperature, significantly influence the physical, chemical and biological qualities of medicinal plants. The duration of sunlight, average rainfall, average temperature, including daytime and night-time temperature differences, also influence the physiological and biochemical activities of plants, and prior knowledge should be considered.
The soil should contain appropriate amounts of nutrients, organic matter and other elements to ensure optimal medicinal plant growth and quality. Optimal soil conditions, including soil type, drainage, moisture retention, fertility and pH, will be dictated by the selected medicinal plant species and/or target medicinal plant part.
The use of fertilizers is often indispensable in order to obtain large yields of medicinal plants. It is, however, necessary to ensure that correct types and quantities of fertilizers are used through agricultural research. In practice, organic and chemical fertilizers are used.
Human excreta must not be used as a fertilizer owing to the potential presence of infectious microorganisms or parasites. Animal manure should be thoroughly composted to meet safe sanitary standards of acceptable microbial limits and destroyed by the germination capacity of weeds. Any applications of animal manure should be documented. Chemical fertilizers that have been approved by the countries of cultivation and consumption should be used.
All fertilizing agents should be applied sparingly and in accordance with the needs of the particular medicinal plant species and supporting capacity of the soil. Fertilizers should be applied in such a manner as to minimize leaching.
Growers should implement practices that contribute to soil conservation and minimize erosion, for example, through the creation of streamside buffer zones and the planting of cover crops and "green manure" i.e crops grown to ploughed in.
Irrigation and drainage:
Irrigation and drainage should be controlled and carried out in accordance with the needs of the individual medicinal plant species during its various stages of growth. Water used for irrigation purposes should comply with local, regional and/or national quality standards. Care should be exercised to ensure that the plants under cultivation are neither over- nor under-watered.
In the choice of irrigation, as a general rule, the health impact of the different types of irrigation (various forms of surface, sub-surface or overhead irrigation), particularly on the risks of increased vector-borne disease transmission, must be taken into account.
Plant maintenance and Protection:
The growth and development characteristics of individual medicinal plants, as well as the plant part destined for medicinal use, should guide field management practices. The timely application of measures such as topping, bud nipping, pruning and shading may be used to control the growth and development of the plant, thereby improving the quality and quantity of the medicinal plant material being produced.
Any agrochemicals used to promote the growth of or to protect medicinal plants should be kept to a minimum, and applied only when no alternative measures are available. Integrated pest management should be followed where appropriate. When necessary, only approved pesticides and herbicides should be applied at the minimum effective level, in accordance with the labelling and/or package insert instructions of the individual product and the regulatory requirements that apply for the grower and the end-user countries. Only qualified staff using approved equipment should carry out pesticide and herbicide applications. All applications should be documented. The minimum interval between such treatments and harvest should be consistent with the labelling and/or package insert instructions of the plant protection product, and such treatments should be carried out in consultation and with the by agreement of the buyer of the medicinal plants or medicinal plant materials. Growers and producers should comply with maximum pesticide and herbicide residue limits, as stipulated by local, regional and/or national regulatory authorities.
Medicinal plants should be harvested during the optimal season or time period to ensure the production of medicinal plant materials and finished herbal products of the best possible quality. The time of harvest depends on the plant part to be used. Detailed information concerning the appropriate timing of harvest is often available in national pharmacopoeias, published standards, official monographs and major reference books. However, it is well known that the concentration of biologically active constituents varies with the stage of plant growth and development. This also applies to non-targeted toxic or poisonous indigenous plant ingredients. The best time for harvest (quality peak season/time of day) should be determined according to the quality and quantity of biologically active constituents rather than the total vegetative yield of the targeted medicinal plant parts. During harvest, care should be taken to ensure that no foreign matter, weeds or toxic plants are mixed with the harvested medicinal plant materials.
Medicinal plants should be harvested under the best possible conditions, avoiding dew, rain or exceptionally high humidity. If harvesting occurs in wet conditions, the harvested material should be transported immediately to an indoor drying facility to expedite drying so as to prevent any possible deleterious effects due to increased moisture levels, which promote microbial fermentation and mould.
Cutting devices, harvesters, and other machines should be kept clean and adjusted to reduce damage and contamination from soil and other materials. They should be stored in an uncontaminated, dry place or facility free from insects, rodents, birds and other pests, and inaccessible to livestock and domestic animals.
Contact with soil should be avoided to the extent possible so as to minimize the microbial load of harvested medicinal plant materials. Where necessary, large drop cloths, preferably made of clean muslin, may be used as an interface between the harvested plants and the soil. If the underground parts (such as the roots) are used, any adhering soil should be removed from the medicinal plant materials as soon as they are harvested. The harvested raw medicinal plant materials should be transported promptly in clean, dry conditions. They may be placed in clean baskets, dry sacks, trailers, hoppers or other well-aerated containers and carried to a central point for transport to the processing facility.
All containers used at harvest should be kept clean and free from contamination by previously harvested medicinal plants and other foreign matter. If plastic containers are used, particular attention should be paid to any possible retention of moisture that could lead to the growth of mould. When containers are not in use, they should be kept in dry conditions, in an area that is protected from insects, rodents, birds and other pests, and inaccessible to livestock and domestic animals.
Any mechanical damage or compacting of the raw medicinal plant materials, as a consequence, for example, of overfilling or stacking of sacks or bags, that may result in composting or otherwise diminish quality should be avoided. Decomposed medicinal plant materials should be identified and discarded during harvest, post-harvest inspections and processing, in order to avoid microbial contamination and loss of product quality.
Growers and producers should have adequate knowledge of the medicinal plant concerned. This should include botanical identification, cultivation characteristics and environmental requirements (soil type, soil pH, fertility, plant spacing and light requirements), as well as the means of harvest and storage.
All personnel (including field workers) involved in the propagation, cultivation, harvest and post-harvest processing stages of medicinal plant production should maintain appropriate personal hygiene and should have received training regarding their hygiene responsibilities.
Only properly trained personnel, wearing appropriate protective clothing (such as overalls, gloves, helmet, goggles, face mask), should apply agrochemicals.
Growers and producers should receive instruction on all issues relevant to the protection of the environment, conservation of medicinal plant species, and proper agricultural stewardship.
The collected and produced medicinal plants needs market. There is great market for medicinal plants in Nepal and in abroad. Collectors and farmers mustn't worry for selling their product. Above mentioned technology helps collectors and farmers sell their product in reasonable and profitable price so that their labour and investment gets best value. Entrepreneurs are also advised to start commercialization of the plants by processing them into different products if possible by means of resource and money, The home made medicinal products are still trusted by many peoples.
The production can also be marketed through Handbook, App, Websites. local NGOs and INGOs. Entrepreneurs are also awared about plants which is prohibited for travelling or selling and also telling basic norms and rules of the law. The people are advised and motivated that there is great scope of medicinal plants in Nepal which would make great value for them socio-economically. This helps attraction of people in this medicinal plant sectors and employment will be generated locally and all this can be done in a sustainable way.
Problems, directions and feedback given from the people is addressed as far as possible and will be continued later on which helps in refining the idea.
Target Location :All Nepal (Specially Hilly and Himalayan regions)
Target Audience :All people mainly who are interested in Horticulture. People who are already collecting medicinal plants, cultivating it in respective geographical areas and who are in the business for sale. Also the people who wants to start new as a collector, farmer or both.
1.Helps decreasing poverty by creating opportunities.
2.Employment for local people as it has high market demand.
3.Optimum utilization of local resource in sustainable way.
4.Making every individual as entrepreneur.
5.Nepal as hub for medicinal plants.
6.Reduces foreign employment seekers.
7.Entrepreneurs can share their experience and learn from others about challenges they face ahead.
8.They will be self benefitted by those local medicines for curing diseases too.
9.People can start work from the very moment getting simple idea.
Early Feedbacks from People:
Feedback is essential to learning and is one of the strongest influences for achievement. There were a lot of positive responses and enthusiastic approach to my idea. Some are:
- Ideas is worthy but there must be support from the government and local authorities in carrying out these projects otherwise it would be difficult to carry out.
- There must be a mechanism of interaction and coordination between the entrepreneurs so they can learn and discuss on problems ahead.
- How can new entrepreneurs get trainings? There must be training for them otherwise due to lack of knowledge, irregular harvesting and cultivation may effect ecosystem and there will be the production of unqualitative products which damage the image for traditional medicinal plants.
- Medicinal plants are not only used for making medicines, plants also have ornamental value, used as spices and other many uses. There must be a solution which can cover all these issues.
- How can you make a bridge between the collector/farmer and the customer/buyer? There must be assurance for farmers that his yield can be sold.
Business PlanEstimated Human Resources :
For Collecting medicinal plants: 2-3 working member in a group (or even more)
For Cultivation and Commercialization: Depends upon the scale
- Small scale needs: 2-3 persons
- Medium scale needs: 10-15 persons
- Large Scale needs even more
For setting up medicinal plants processing factory, more human resource is needed and the number is according to its capacity.
For developing an app, website and printing handbook more peoples are needed (One time only) and it is only for developers not for new entrepreneurs.
- The main purpose of this concept is to utilize locally available resource i.e. medicinal plants which are freely available and letting them not wasted, cultivate it and sell it in reasonable value.
- Wild harvesting of medicinal plants is a chance for the poorest (specially who has no access to farmland) to make atleast some cash.
- Financially it is less costly to startup and investment can be gradually increased which can be vital for the economically weak persons.
- Loans and grants can be managed for such small and medium scale enterprise from government, NGOs,INGOs.
- Investors can invest huge sum of money as it has great output which creates employment directly and indirectly which helps in the removal of poverty to some extent.
- This concept have a potential for contributing to the local economy, subsistence health needs and improved natural resource management, leading to the conservation of eco system and biodiversity of an area when well managed.
- This idea can be implemented by both educated and uneducated people which benefits to all the people living in society.
- Farmers can integrate medicinal and aromatic plants into agroforestry or small-scale farming systems helps generating additional source of income to the family.
- Home gardens of medicinal plant propagation can be focused and introduction programmes can encourage the use of traditional remedies for common disease by making the plant sources more accessible.
- The resource can be exploited above their sustainable capacity in order to meet the increasing demand of the human population.
- There is a threat to these resources which are linked to activities of over, inappropriate timing and methods of harvesting leading to the threat of extinction of ecotype and even species and production of non commercially demanded species.
- There are many plants disease which destroys our effort in cultivation and the farming technique of these plants is not well developed in our country so there may be difficulty at the initial stage.
- Socially disadvantaged groups dependent on gathering medicinal plants for their survival and cash income may not have access to farmland at all and are therefore not able to compete with large-scale production of medicinal plants by well-established farmers.
- Cultivated species may become invasive, have negative impacts on ecosystem and narrows genetic diversity because wild relatives of cultivated species become neglected.
- There may be severe outcomes due to the consumption of wrong herbs for particular purpose.
- There may be unfair competition among entrepreneurs for collecting and cultivating medicinal plants.
- The present scenario of energy crisis in Nepal may affect the output and increase the expenditure in manufacturing of medicinal plants.
- Special trainings and mentorship program must be given to the one who is interested in this field so that they harvest and cultivate in sustainable way.
Sustainable wild harvest management schemes need to be supported by governments and authorities. Management plans need to be installed as a standard pre-requisite for any such harvesting in the wild.
Special training on farming technique and knowledge of plant diseases can be provided through the field training and using latest technology.
Socially backward and marginalised groups are to be focused at centre by collabrating with stakeholders.
Species of different medicinal plants must be cultivated in sustainable and judicious way. Community based small scale cultivation enterprises need to be strengthened to enable them to compete with large-scale high-tech cultivation.
The herbs available at their locality must be identified by the locals so that there won't be any irregular and false consumption.
There must be regulatory body which supervises the activities of entrepreneurs so that no farmers/collectors is victimised.
Optional energy sources must be deployed for the energy crisis in manufacturing industries.
Government policies and legislation need to be adapted and implemented to recognize the value of and need for sustainable management systems, to implement national or regional permit systems for transportation and make medicinal plant conservation a priority for national health and economic policy.
On a time scale,the transition from wild harvesting to possible cultivation goes through various phases:
- Discovery Phase: Local people gets knowledge about the actual value of the available herbs at local, national and international level through awareness campaign.
- Expansion Phase: Once it becomes clear that the product is potentially useful and that demand is likely to increase, the plant is harvested or can be cultivated for local or regional sale and eventually for international markets.
- Stabilization Phase: The species is unlikely to be attractive to growers unless prices are high enough and wild-harvested resources are scarce enough. However, desirable species may be grown on farmland and planted around settlements.
- Cultivation Phase: Formal cultivation systems are developed and instituted. The plants are domesticated and incorporated into agroforestry systems, sometimes for the benefit of small-scale farmers. International market opportunities exist so, commercial plantations are created with substantial investment and genetic selection, cloning, breeding and biotechnology may be applied. more resilient species may recover in their wild populations.
- Commercialization Phase: If completing all the phases if anyone wants to invest more money or even big sum of money then, they can open up processing and manufacturing industries after receiving specific training or course.
Market Research :
The demand and size of market for the medicinal herbs and aromatic plants are high at local, national and international level and its potential for growth is increasing at rapid pace. The structure of market is complex in the context of Nepal as there is huge gap in between the first seller (Collector/Farmer) and the manufacturing industries. If we broke the gap between it then the profit will rise sharply. If there is processing and manufacturing factories for these plants then the geographical area of spread of the final product or market trend is wide and satisfactory here in Nepal and abroad as traditional are still trusted by most of the people. I can guarantee that if we produce or collect plants in large amount then also there is market for it because the market for it is too large and existing production is very small. Though there is comparatively great market share for chemically synthesized medicine, its side effects has compel the people to attract in traditional herbal medicines which is good signal for this idea. The cost of these finally processed medicines is relatively better and cheaper than the existing one. There is no problem for sale of the products (raw or finished) but to take the maximum bebefit we need to make specific strategies for better price.
Intended Customer :
Customer ranges from low level (local people) to the medicines manufacturing industries. There is great demand and genarality of medicines extracted from these sources. If we managed to make a brand name in the medicine industries like Himalaya and Patanjali (like in neighbouring india) then, there is no problem for searching customers. The technology we talked before like websites and app helps to narrow the distance between the potential buyers and the seller.The world production and processing of medicinal herbs is concentrated in Europe, India, China and other developed countries and if we can make up with them by using technology, they may be one of our great customers.
Technology Required :
Different modern agricultural tools (for both collection and cultivation) are needed in the beginning. New and scientific horticulture techniques can be learned through smartphone app, asking professionals through cellphone and the internet if needed (some are optional). If simple small scale industry is to be setup then, it requires less effort and technology but for large commercial processing and manufacturing industries, the technology required is complex.
To Summarize we entrepreneurs need:
- Telephone or Cellphone
- Internet devices
- Personal Computer
- For small scale and large scale industry different mechanical tools and manufacturing machines are needed.