Food Notes & Tousim 06/06/2011

New training toolkit for medicinal plants

This is based on the guidelines for Good Agriculture and Collection Practices for medicinal plants that were developed by the World Health Organization


Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR, released a training toolkit on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) medicinal plants at a launch function. While releasing the toolkit, Dr Ayyappan appreciated the efforts and said, the GACP training kit will be very useful for farmers, collectors, trainers and other stakeholders to impart standard and uniform training across the country. He also thanked FAO for completing this collaborative work within the limited time period.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, India, and the Directorate of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Research (DMAPR) of Indian Council for Agriculture Research (ICAR) have together developed an interactive training toolkit to facilitate better application of the WHO guidelines for good agriculture and collection practices for medicinal plants.

The adoption of GACP in medicinal plant sector will improve livelihood by adding premium price to the produce and also generating additional employment in rural sector for the educated youth.

This training toolkit is based on the guidelines for Good Agriculture and Collection Practices for medicinal plants that were developed by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2003. The guidelines were designed to ensure the safety, efficiency and quality of raw materials used in herbal medicine. In 2009, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), in collaboration with the WHO Country Office for India, developed a set of country specific guidelines and standards for GACP.

FAO Representative Mr Gavin Wall said, the implementation of GACP will improve the efficacy of herbal medicines in the market; ensure that medicinal plant resources are extracted from the wild in sustainable manner, and strengthen the position of the farmers and collectors in the market place,

Compliance to quality standards is necessary to consolidate our position in the world herbal market and towards this; adoption of Good Agriculture and Collection Practices (GACP) by farmers and collectors is an important starting point, said Dr Satyabrata Maiti, Director, DMAPR.

A user-friendly format
There was a need to present these GACP standards and guidelines in a format that will enable easy adoption by farmers and collectors, particularly in less developed areas with low literacy levels. This unique training material developed by the FAO and DMAPR serves the purpose and includes a variety of communication tools, such as a film and an illustrated booklet to deliver the core message of GACP principles.

This toolkit was developed under a project implemented by FAO in India and Bhutan with support from the International Fund for Agriculture Development. There are plans to translate this training material into several regional languages for wider and more effective dissemination.

The publications can be downloaded on the FAO, India website at GACP Trainer’s Toolkit i.e. Web: http://coin.fao.org/cms/world/india/en/Home.html.

di S. C.