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As reported India has 15 Agroclimatic zones and 17000-18000 species of flowering plants of which 6000-7000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of medicine, like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy. About 960 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 178 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tones.
Medicinal plants are not only a major resource base for the traditional medicine & herbal industry but also provide livelihood and health security to a large segment of Indian population. The domestic trade of the AYUSH industry is of the order of Rs. 80 to 90 billion (1US$ = Rs.50). The Indian medicinal plants and their products also account of exports in the range of India has 15 Agroclimatic zones and 17000-18000 species of flowering plants of which 6000-7000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of medicine, like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy. About 960 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 178 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tones.
The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre was established in 1991 by Botanist Sheikh Gulzaar , head , who is from an journalism background. The institution is based in Azizabad village, Pampore, Jammu and Kashmir. The head of the said institution is Sheikh Gulzaar, who has done serve research in the line of medicinal plants for which he travelled from Kashmir Himalayan mountain tops as well as has crossed glaciers also and has struggled to such an extent that he has created a history. The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre is continuously researching since 21 years and is in research of medicinal plants and is interested to meet the expectations and needs of the nation. Not only the said The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre is working in the country but throughout the world its research is going on. Sheikh Gulzaar has spent most of his life on Himalayan mountains, footsteps and river banks while he was travelling for the project.
The Head of the the Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre Sheikh Gulzaar is continuously in research of medicinal , fruit plants and wild flowers and have also cultivated some products in his own plant introduction center as such has done a great job which was not even in our mind ever. Some medicinal/fruit plants are Ginkgo biloba , Lycium barbarum , Lavetra cashmerina , Geranium wallichiana , Cichorium intybus , Crocus sativus ,Hyoscyamus niger , Hippophae rhamnoides Inula racemosa, Iris cashmerina , Dioscorea deltodia, Salvia hians , Salvia officinalis, Salvia moorcroftiana, Salvia sclarea , Aquilegia pubiflora, Paeonia emodi,Berberis lyceum , Epimedium elatum, Podophyllum hexandrum , Viola odorata ,Hypericum perforatum , Peganum harmala , Aesculus indica, Ajuja bracteosa , Sambucus wightiana, Taxus baccata, Verbascum Thapsus, Valeriana officinalis, Atropa belladonna, Atropa acuminate, Artemisia absinthium, Achillea millefolium, Allium victoralis, Colchicum luteum,Phytolacca acinosa, Saussurea costus, Corylus avellana etc.
Medicinal plants are having a good demand not only in the country but abroad also. Buy cultivating such plants the institution has till date provided such plants to about 34 thousand research institutions, individuals & progressive farmers and in this way he has helped the researchers but have provided such plants to them time to time with the result the said institution has earned a good fame in the country as well as have given training to so many unemployed and educated youth of the country hence in this way they are able to earn their livelihood.
The institution has received about 7880 applications since 1994 for giving full descriptions regarding such plants as well as identity ,birth, botanical information and family structure of such plants and its benefits as well as they have been given letter of originty, Phytosanitary information & letter of authenticity , with the result such fellows have been absolutely helped in carrying over their research forward. The real thing is to know the full description and identity of such plants which has been provided by the said. Sheikh Gulzaar , otherwise the researchers would have not been in know of all the benefits of such plants.
As the Kashmir valey is one of the cold region of Himalaya and the season of valley is not trustworthy here remains, cold temperature, snowfall fast winds etc., with the result the public are suffering and every year huge losses are being faced by us as well as research job is also being affected, because due to non-availability of high-tech green houses, so many valuable plants dies due to extensive heat or cold and we requested so many times to Government to provide us proper place near high altitude so that we may be able to cultivate other countries medicinal , wild flowers and fruit plants here also . I have also secured hundreds of seeds from Europe, Middle East and Africa and have planted them in different areas and has obtained seeds from them as well as medicines, but it is difficult as the said seeds are only being sowing in such areas where the atmosphere will be neat and clean, by this way we are not only getting help in research job but we are making it possible to cultivate such plants which has not been actually given any attention. In this research I am facing such difficulties but also I am bearing 3-5 thousand s expenses per plant/tree. E.g. I am planting a tree near the mountains of South Kashmir then after 2-6 months I have to take the same seedling to high altitude and have to plant in such plants a place where there will be no rush of general public or animals just keep it as a secret. When such plants become ready then we are obtaining seeds from them .
Unfortunately, so far the government of Jammu and Kashmir is not helping me .They just come and provide farmers the dinner and lunch. Government officials will feel happy with what I am doing they will recommend me and they get impressed with what I am doing but apart from that they are not helping in anyways. I think government should not interfere .Research institutions, Universities and organizations should identify the problems of our agriculture and base thei academic and men research strategies. We lack the speed in all situations.
Till date government of Jammu and Kashmir as has not helped us in any way, we have got on lab or other high-tech facilities so that our job will become easy and we are not using any chemicals, fertilizer etc. for such medicinal plants nor other technology but we are dependent upon organics fertilizers i.e. biomass, peat, manure plant leaves, tree barks but to obtain such items we have to work hard as such the public is not hesitating to purchase our seeds and our target remains always upon such medicinal plants which is having demand in the market for ever. We first see what plants are in demand and accordingly get the seeds planting stock . We fertilize strictly depending upon our pre fixed schedules, and we use only specific insecticides and pesticides, he maintains . We mix a lot of coco peat into our soil mediums as water issues have become paramount. All around the Kashmir soil quality has become terrible because of excess use of chemical fertilizers; we use vermicompost and other organic content into the soil. Most of our issues are sorted out if we do these things in a systematic manner without compromising.
Self-sufficiency is essential to ensure our future generation is fed well. India have nearly 4-5 lakh acres of cultivable land which is second largest in the world.
2000 odd lakhs acres out of that is irrigated and largest in the world and we are the second largest producers of vegetables in the world.
So threat is not the availability of the fertile land but current tendency to go away from agriculture and converting the land for other proposes. Lack of direct access to market place , involvement of the middle man and lack of man power due to the younger generation choosing other professions for better marginal & small farmers.
My main target is practical and Research & Development and I am feeling too much due to adverse conditions of the Himalayan state of Kashmir as I have not been given any help by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir. As my whole job is land or agriculture that even the same needs at high altitude. To invest for upliftment of J&K I have to make my focus on Kashmir Himalaya for cultivating such plants to obtain medicines which can be used for Cancer disease also and second main focus will be Food Technology as our country is presently facing heavy danger of Cancer and shortage of food and I will do my struggle till last breath.
The Jammu and Kashmir Medicinal Plants Introduction Centre
“Ginkgo House” Azizabad, Nambalbal, (Via Wuyan-Meej Road), Pampore PPR J&K 192121
POB: 667 GPO Srinagar SGR J&K 190001