GUIDELINES for formulation of project proposal for Sustainable cultivation and harvesting of Medicinal plants.


  The World Health Organisation estimates that up to 80% of the world’s population relies on medicinal plants and animals for their health. The demand for such plants is rising in the industrialized world, where people are resorting to natural health remedies more and more. Present estimate is that China exports plant based medicine products worth Rs. 22,000/-crores and India export turnover is only Rs. 462 crores. According to the WHO, the global market for medicinal herbs and herbal products is estimated to touch US $ 5 trillion by 2050. This indicates the tremendous potential and demand in this sector.


India is having a rich heritage of more than 10,000 medicinal plants of which 1800 medicinal plants are used in Ayurveda, 4700 in Traditional Medicinal Practice, 1100 in Siddha Medicinal System, 750 Unani, 300 in Homeopathy, 300 in Chineses System of Medicine and finally 100 in Allopathic System. Thus, figures are very small as compared to the plant sources, estimated at about 3.6 lakh plant species spread over the earth, out of which 40 per cent are available in India.


Medicinal plants are distributed across diverse habitats. In India, about 70% of the medicinal plant species are found in the tropical forests spread across the western Ghats, Eastern Ghats, the Vindhyas, Chotanagpur plateau, Aravalies, the Terai region in the foot-hills of Himalayas and the North-East. In the recent years, the growing demand for herbal products has led to a quantum jump in volumes of plant material traded in domestic as well as in global markets. Over 90% of the plant species used by Indian industry are collected from the natural resources with a few species under commercial cultivation.


In India due to pressure of increasing population, the area under forests has been decreasing and the demand of medicinal plants and herbs is increasing. Due to increased number of users and resurgence of interest in Indian Systems of Medicines, Ayurveda and Homoeopathy the forest resources are under double squeeze and are not able to meet the requirement of medicinal plants and herbs adequately. 


70% of plant collections involve destructive harvesting because of use of parts like roots, barks, stems and whole plant. Such unscrupulous collection of these plants by local unskilled people, mostly tribals endanger the very existence of several valuable medicinal plants. There are no regular developmental programmes in the forestry and agriculture sector to promote regeneration and revival of these endangered species. To overcome the problems of over exploitation of natural resources and to meet the increasing demand of herbal products, the emphasis should be on encouraging commercial cultivation of the potential species. Besides, there is an acute need for training of tribals/collectors for sustainable harvesting of medicinal plants and herbs. Therefore, conservation, propagation, cultivation, maintenance and sustainable commercial use of these natural resources are essential. In that case ex-situ cultivation is the need of hour and cultivation of medicinal plant is crucial to meet the industrial demand as well as to reduce the depletion of important plant diversity.


In order to involve farming community in cultivation of economically sustainable  medicinal plants in their fields, it is necessary to motivate and attract the farmers to introduce some species in their fields. The farmers may be educated about the usefulness of growing medicinal plants and the available packages of practices/agro-techniques for growing medicinal plants. Nursery of these plants should be raised on the farmers’ fields for which necessary training may be imparted to them. Saplings of medicinal plants should be provided free of cost to the cultivators at initial stage. They should be made aware of the agencies to which they could possibly sell their products, and also given training for preserving and packaging of such products. Necessary arrangements should be made to lift the produce from their fields to avoid deterioration in the quality of the product if semi processing of the produce is possible at the farmer’s level, they should be taught such technique.


Introduction of medicinal plant cultivation offers good opportunities for agriculture diversification. Efforts at various levels have already been initiated as evidenced from the setting up of the National Medicinal Plant Board in India.


In view of the potentialities available and the demand for herbs and herbal products, considerable importance is being given by CAPART to the promotion of herbal plant cultivation, sustainable harvesting of herbs from the forests, semi-processing and other related activities, packaging and marketing



The main focus of the project should be on motivation, training, information dissemination, technical and financial assistance for raising nurseries, cultivation, sustainable collection/harvesting, storage, processing, packaging, marketing and linkages with collectors and farmers and strong communication net-work among all the stake holders dealing with phyto-medicines.


The project should include one or more of the following activities


1. Survey of existing forest medicinal plant resources, their most appropriate period and time of harvesting and to involve rural and tribal population in the collection of medicinal plants from the forests on sustainable basis.


2. To promote and protect the interest of collectors/tribals engaged in collection of herbal raw materials from wild areas.


3. Imparting training for the collectors in identification of various species of medicinal herbs, their timely collection/sustainable harvesting of plant materials from wild sources, maintaining the quality of raw materials, their proper storage, packaging techniques and marketing.


4. Awareness generation, motivation and training of farmers for nursery raising and cultivation of demand based medicinal plants in their fields using organic farming techniques.


5. Promoting cultivation of endangered plant species by the farmers in their fields. Identification of useful species which are poorly regenerating and may be at the verge of extinction, multiplication of these species using low cost tissue culture and micro-propagation techniques and promoting their cultivation by the farmers


6. Information dissemination to the farmers, Collectors/ tribals about the market available for different medicinal plants. Identification and arrangement of suitable market for the collected produce.



7. Conducting meetings/ seminars/ workshops for providing common platform for marketeers, Phyto-pharmaceutical industries, farmers and collectors who are engaged in cultivation of medicinal plants and collection of raw materials.


8. Documentation and publication of useful information concerning nursery raising using tissue culture, micro-propagation and green house techniques and package of practices for cultivation of various medicinal plants using organic farming techniques, their semi-processing and preservation, quality control packaging and marketing. 


9. Networking and collaboration among the various stakeholders dealing with medicinal plants.




Voluntary Organisation working in rural areas with a legal status of a society registered for 3 years under Societies Registration Act XXI, 1860 or any corresponding state Act or a Trust registered under Indian Trust Act, 1882 or the Charitable and Religious Trusts Act, 1920 will be eligible for financial assistance subject to the condition that:-



Ø      The VO should have a nationalised Bank or Post Office A/c for last three years.

Ø      The VO should be working in rural areas, even if the Hqrs. are in urban area.

Ø      The VO should possess Permanent Account Number (PAN) of Income Tax Department.

Ø      The VO should not be under funding restriction.


Criteria for project assistance



1) The medicinal plants cultivation activities will be extended to the farmers in general and small and marginal farmers in particular by eligible and competent voluntary organisations,

2)  Innovative farmers or cluster/group of committed farmers would also be extended assistance for cultivation of medicinal plants using organic farming technologies through eligible Voluntary Organisation who will provide technical and supervisory support to the farmers.

3)  The project proposal should be short-term result oriented in nature, normally upto 3 years.



Preparation and submission of project proposal: -

The project proposal should be prepared on the lines of the format prescribed by CAPART. The objectives of the proposal should be precise and well defined indicating the likely benefits to be derived and specified the category of beneficiaries. The action programmes and method of implementation of the activities should be as detailed as possible and clear outlining the work allocation and time schedule of each activity. Two copies of the project proposal complete in all respects with organizational profile, certified photocopy of Memorandum and Bye-laws and Registration Certificate, Audited Statement of Accounts, Annual Report, Bank/Post Office Accounts of last three years and Permanent Account Number of the Organization should be forwarded to CAPART’s Regional Committees for project costing upto Rs. 20 lakhs and to CAPART HQs for the budget above Rs. 20 lakhs.


Programmes to be considered: -

The voluntary organizations will interact with farmers/group of farmers and draft proposals for sustainable cultivation and harvesting of medicinal plants. The proposal should be focussed on people’s participation and use of various techniques of organic farming for cultivation of medicinal plants.


Project Proposal Components: -

The project proposal is prepared as per the ARTS guidelines.


The activities and methodologies to be used should be specified such as:

1.      Awareness Generation and Motivation

2.      Training

3.      Nursery raising

4.      Cultivation

·        Land preparation

·        Organic Manuring

·        Plantation

·        Plant protection

·        Weeding and Hoeing              

·        Irrigation

·        Harvesting


5.   Semi-processing/ Packaging

6.   Marketing

7.   Documentation and Publication

8.   Staff to be appointed

9. Equipment to be purchased

10. Any other activities





Contact Agencies:


1. Vivekananda Girijana Kalyan Kendra (VGKK)

      B.R. Hills, Yalandur Taluk, Chamrajnagar District – 571441



2. Gandhigram Trust ,Gandhigram,

       District Dindigul, Tamil Nadu.


3. Vivekananda Kendra, Vivekanandapuram,

       Kanyakumari – 629702

       Tamil Nadu.


   4. Forest Research Institute (FRI) ,

    PO-New Forest, Kaulagarh

    Dehradun, Uttaranchal


5. Himalayan Environmental Studies & Conservation (HESCO)

      Vigyanprasth, Vill.-Gwar Chowki,

      PO-Gholtir, Karanprayag, Chamoli,




6. Center for Indian Knowledge Systems (CIKS)

      30, Gandhi Mandappam Road,




   7. The Voluntary Health, Education and Rural Development Society, VHERDS,

    41 (old no. 19), circular road

    United India Colony,Kodambakkam

    Chennai – 600 024


8. Peermade Development Society (PDS)

      Peermade, PO Box – 11

      Kerala – 685531


9.  Academy of Development Science (ADS)

       Kashele, Karjat, Raigarh District,  Maharastra