Bihar states situated between 27°-31'-15" N latitude and between 88°-17'-40" E longitude is the third largest state in India. It is located in the eastern part of the country. The Geographical area of Bihar is 9359.57 thousand hectares out of which 6.6% is forest area, 14.2% is land area and net sown area is 57% while cropping intensity is 1.37%.
Land use pattern in Bihar exhibit substantial variation due to different agro-climate zones. Bihar is the traditional home of medicinal plant of large number of variety, however, planned medicinal plant cultivation was not in practice till late.
Conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants is a need of today as their base is shrinking day by day. Cultivation of it is a potential provider of returns to the cultivator i.e., the farmers. Due to lacking in the awareness among the farmers, they do not recognize the potential of these herbal and medicinal plants.
Agriculture is the prime sector of the state. Over 67% of its population is directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture. The state is rich in herbal plant biodiversity. However, the commercial cultivation of the same has not been taken on large scale. Of late, efforts have been made to make aware and training of the rural youth in cultivation and processing of medicinal plants which is picking up slowly.
Medicinal plants are extremely potential production sector in Bihar state due to availability of suitable climate, right type of soil, water and other inputs, latest crop production technology and enthusiastic labourious cultivator. Large cultivation of herbal plants will bring prosperity, generate employment, and provide raw material for plant based medicines which are in high demand in domestic as well as global market, besides conservation of our precious environment.
Large Scale cultivation will also attract setting of pharmaceutical industries in the state. Among the available options, the need is to develop a sustainable agro-economy growth strategy with a viable technology development. Medicinal plants are high potential area in this regard.
The state started medicinal plants cultivation by participation of some innovative farmers and its fast-growing demand in the market. For increasing demand of herbal and medicinal plants it is essential to develop Ayurvedic system of therapy. Companies that produce herbal and medicinal plants-based product should be given full priority in the domestic market. Bio partnership between certified farmers and Ayurvedic Pharmaceutical companies like Himalaya, Naturals, Dabur, Jhandu, Baidyanath, and Patanjali should be encouraged. In present and future, these companies should be given priority to settle in domestic market of Bihar as these companies are fast growing.
In Bihar, ample opportunities exist for diversified sustainable agriculture in different agro eco-system. Systematic cultivation of high value medicinal and herbal plants under prevailing agro ecological condition is one of the sincere efforts in the direction of sustainable development.
Dept of Biotechnology
A. N. College, Patna