Rural Connect 2018 Ended at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre
The market value of Medicinal plants in India according to findings in 2016 states it to be about 72 billion USD by 2050 this is estimated to reach around USD 5 Trillion, stated Prof. (Dr. Swapan) Kumar Dutta, Former DDG (ICAR) and VC, Visva Bharati University, Co-PI, DBT, Program support of COE, University of Calcutta in the opening address of the second and final day of the Rural Connect 2018 organized by The Bengal Chamber on 4th December at the Biswa Bangla Convention Centre. Dr. G.P. Sarkar, President, Ayurvedic Drug Manufacturer's Association along with others dignitaries were also present to grace the entire occasion.
Shri Purnendu Bose, Honorable Minister-In-Charge, Department of Technical Education, Training & Skill Development, Government of West Bengal stated that "Bengal has a wide range of aboriginal medicinal plants which can play a very imperative role in human health especially in the 21st Century. Most medicinal plants grow in the wild and each contains a specific bioactive compound. There is a need to create a conducive environment to grow these in controlled greenhouses or glass houses so that mass production can be accomplished. Although India is a rich source of medicinal plants we are still lagging behind in plant-based drug production".
Shri Purnendu Bose was very thankful for the joint effort of The Bengal Chamber, NABARD and Ingreens for this conclave. While everyone aspires for government jobs there are not ample jobs in that sector. However, the rural areas have the immense potential not just in farming but in other areas related to farming. Areas like soil testing labs, soil diagnosis, seed production, production of biofertilizers, are sectors where local youths may be trained and employed to contribute to the growth of agri -economy, he opined. For quality crop production a sound awareness of superior quality seed production is a must. Also, there is a need for training in the judicious use of fertilizers and water. It has been observed that plants treated with biofertilizers give better yield than those on chemicals which itself opens up an immense scope for training and employment. Also, efforts to learn effective rainwater harvesting are very imperative.
There are various government and institutional departments that are rendering sound know-how and skilling which the village youth can undertake and get employment. Farmers need to learn the art of business, learn the accounting operations, banking operations and how to market their produce. Under the Utkarsh Bangla Scheme which was launched by the West Bengal Government, vocational training is being provided for youths who have either dropped out or had to discontinue their education. The beneficiaries of the scheme are being provided with adequate skilling and training in driving, tailoring, repairing, beautician and the like. At the end certificates are given, allowing them to seek employment. There are about 72 lakh farming families. It’s very crucial to train the farmers. Also, those who have some expertise and experience need to be identified and trained and sent to fields where cultivation is done as training cannot be merely given in closed rooms. But above all, we need to have a target to move forward.
Prof. Asis Mazumdar, Nodal Officer-Eastern Region, Regional cum Facilitation Centre (RCFC-ER) National Medicinal Plant Board, stated, "We work with medicinal plants in the states of West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Odisha. The Bengal State Medicinal Plant Board under Dr. Prasanta Kr. Sarkar is doing exemplary work The main function of RCFC is to act as multifaceted facilitating arm of NMPB(National Medicinal Plants Board), develop quality planting materials and agro-technology of medicinal plants, setting up primary processing, grading , marketing facilities, develop managerial and technical skill among stakeholders, facilitating in sale of medicinal produce, domestication of wild species in demand, collect and maintain database of all concerned sectors."