Unused plots in govt offices to be used for farming medicinal plants

Palakkad: In a major initiative to boost cultivation of medicinal plants, the state government has decided to start plantations on unused plots in various government offices in Kerala. Department of Agriculture aims to produce medicinal plants to cater to the needs of Oushadhi and other outlets. In the current financial year, 10 hectares of land will come under farming across various districts.

Ashoka and Cinnamon will be cultivated on a large scale to cater to the demands of Ayurveda (AYUSH) departments. There will be technical support from the Kerala Medicinal Plant Board and the supervision of Oushadhi, a government body.

Farming includes proper study of the physical conditions of the land and water availability. The Agriculture Department will provide seeds, fertilizers and other technical facilities. Further, an agreement will be made with the heads of institutions to coordinate the basic facilities for maintenance of plantations.

The gardens will be planted with quality medicinal seedlings prepared by Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) and Kerala Agricultural University. Officials also said that the agriculture department would provide financial assistance to set up the plantations.

Five hectares of land in Kottayam district will be used for agriculture. Medicinal gardens will also be set up on three hectares in Kollam and Kasaragod districts. Further, lands will be acquired in Palakkad and other districts. The project will be expanded based on its success.

Alvin J. Chase