Karnataka Forest Industries Corporation (KSFIC) is contemplating opening a medicinal plant extraction centre in North Karnataka through private partnership.

“We are mulling establishing a medicinal plant extraction centre in Dharwad, Dandeli or Belgaum in North Karnataka and have been talking to some medicinal and aromatic plant importers in this regard”, KSFIC Managing Director A K Verma told PTI.

KSFIC, now engaged in the manufacture of wood based products like flush doors, block boards, furniture and export of sandalwood chips, was making efforts to diversify into cultivation of medicinal plants and had submitted a Rs 1 crore proposal to National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) in this regard, he said.

“We are just awaiting NMPB’s nod for the purpose”, he said.

Meanwhile, as part of research and development efforts, KSFIC has already grown medicinal plants like “Kal Megh” (Andrographis Paniculata) used in manufacture of anti-obesity and diabetes medicines in Sirsi on two hectares of land as a pilot project.

KSFIC, after discussions with many end users had negotiated and finalised an MoU with Bangalore-based M/S Natural Remedies for technical support and ready market for the product (Kal Megh), Mr. Verma said.

“Once the pilot project is successful, we plan to grow other perennial medicinal plants like Punarnava (Boerhavia Diffura), Madhunashini (Gymnema Sylvestre), Vaividang (embellia ribes), Kevanalli (phyllanthus neruri), Makoy (Solanum Nigrum) and Ashwagandha (Withania Somnifera)”, he said.

This would be followed by cultivation of Dashamoola (ten rooted) plants including sandalwood, bael, mapia species, ashoka, colius species in Sirsi”, he said.

“We have chosen Sirsi for cultivation of medicinal plants to begin with because the region is known for its medicinal plants and herbs and there are number of local ayurvedic practitioners in the region who have tremendous knowledge about such plants which can prove useful to us”, Mr. Verma said.

“We wish to replicate medicinal plant project in Shimoga, Mangalore, Bangalore, Mysore, Dandeli and Bidar, he said.

KSFIC has also signed an MoU with Ayur Park Healthcare Ltd, Bangalore, an Ayush industry cluster under the Central government scheme for development of “Ayush Clusters” for conservation and development of medicinal plants, Mr. Verma said.

Ayur Park is a cluster of manufacturers of Indian system of medicine and have been procuring raw materials in the form of medicinal plants from various sources, a very significant portion of which is from forest area.