Friday, 26 May 2017

How About Herbs that Heal ?

An Editorial in Hindustan Times ( 25 May ) reads :

“ Promote viable crop alternative to tobacco “

Extracts :

·         Cigarettes account for just 11 % of tobacco use in India . Bidis , chewing and smokeless tobacco constitute the rest

·         Tobacco is highly addictive and kills half of its users

·         One million of the seven million annual deaths worldwide from tobacco-related disease occur in India

·         India is the world’s second largest producer of tobacco with 60 % of its annual production of 800 million kg , being exported

·         Domestic demand amounts to just 40 % of FCV ( Flue-Cured Virginia ) cultivated in India, so the gains from improved health and lives saved from shrinking domestic demand clearly outweighs losses to farmers

·         Increasing export of this highly addictive crop is not an ethical option

·         The challenge then is to ensure that farmers have a viable substitute for a tobacco crop


The editorial does not suggest WHAT such alternate viable crop could be

I suggest that the government goes out of its “ normal helping ways “ to enable our tobacco-growing farmers to grow HERBS ( MEDICINAL PLANTS ) and SPICES, for which , India has :

·         Rich traditional knowledge ( read  “ Charak Samhita “ )

·         The right kind of climate

·         Domain expertise in processing for high “ value addition “ ( for exports ? )

I urge our well-established Ayurvedic Industry to take a lead in this matter and form Farmers Cooperatives , along the lines of AMUL

As for the Cigarette Industry is concerned , the disruption can be mitigated by implementing my earlier suggestion :

Going Up in Smoke ? ( 18  Aug  2013 )

Can we expect Smt Harsimrat Kaur ( Minister for Food Processing ) , to adopt this reform ?

How about growing “ herb that heals “ rather than “ tobacco that kills “  ?

27  May  2017


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