Experts stress on encouraging herbal cultivation

Three-day meet begins at Manasagangotri in city

Former director of Central Food Technology and Research Institute (CFTRI) V Prakash on Tuesday gave a call to botanists to tell the world about the energy involved in cultivating herbal products in the nation.

He was speaking at the three-day reorientation camp for degree lecturers on ‘herbal drug technology’ at the department of studies in botany at Manasagangotri in the city.

The camp is organised jointly for south region teaching faculty by Vision Group of Science and Technology, Government of Karnataka and  Central Institute of Medicine and Aromatic Plants, Bangalore.

Scientist Dr Prakash who is associated with JSS Mahavidyapeetha said people are not  aware of the calloused hands behind cultivation and conservation of herbals. The other side of the story here is though herbs are still grown, it is in limited space. He cited the example of tea plantations which are restricted to particular regions in the State. On an average 40 types of herbs are still used in preparing food, and tea is one among them. A normal tea is suffice to cleanse the body system.

In this regard, Prakash stressed on teaching the students about the fundamentals of botany, at least for a minimum of half-an-hour per day.  Not to forget, he said chemistry is the mother of all sciences. If one has the  knowledge of chemistry, it would be of great advantage especially at the time of research.

Principal scientist Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Malathi Srinivasan said though botany has many job opportunities, the number of students pursuing the subject is still minimal. Even if the seat is offered free of cost, still there are no takers.

She attributed it to the students who are attracted towards other subjects like bio-technology and others.

If the scientists in the area of botany retire in future, where is the alternative to fill the void?, she questioned.

She also advocated for creating suitable market for herbal growing farmers who can be assured of making a living on the same.

Aromatic products are much in demand and the authorities concerned have to focus on encouraging farmers to grow related herbs.

She said that CSIR is doing its bit in this regard. She also emphasised on encouraging housewives to develop kitchen garden.

Head of department of studies in botany, K A Raveesh, faculty Rajkumar H Grampalli and others were present.

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