Japanese-India Exchange To Promote Sustainable Trade In Medicinal Plants

Representatives from leading herbal companies in Japan visited India to learn about sustainable practices for plant harvesting and collection.

AsianScientist (Feb. 13, 2012) – Representatives from leading herbal companies in Japan visited India last week as part of a drive to promote responsible and sustainable trade in medicinal and aromatic plants between the two countries.

India is the second largest supplier of medicinal and aromatic plants to Japan, many of them wild sourced.

At the same time, almost 1,000 medicinal plant species in India are of conservation concern, and over-exploitation of wild medicinal plants remains a major environmental protection issue.

“This visit is a critical step towards TRAFFIC’s aim of bringing positive behavioral changes in the herbal industry – a sector which deals with cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and food products manufactured from wild medicinal and aromatic plants,” said MKS Pasha, Co-ordinator of TRAFFIC India.

The Japan-India exchange of experience and knowledge was organized by TRAFFIC with support from Institute of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine (I-AIM), a non-governmental organization established to save and build upon India’s medical legacy through the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants.

Japanese delegates included representatives from leading companies dealing in herbal-based traditional Japanese incense and pharmaceutical products, with support from the Keidanren Nature Conservation Fund.

Delegates visited the Medicinal Plant Conservation Area field study sites in Karnataka, and met with local communities, traders, and companies such as the Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd. in Bangalore to learn about the sustainable harvesting practices.

Although China is the number one exporter of medicinal and aromatic plants to Japan, India plays an indispensable role in the trade of aromatic plants such as Sandalwood Santalum album, and edible plants and spices such as Tea leaf Camellia sinensis and Cinnamon Cinnamomum zeylanicum.

Other commonly traded plants sourced from the wild in India include Banaba Lagerstroemia speciosa, Indian frankincense Oleo Gum Boswellia serrata, Salacia Salacia reticulata and Gotu kola Centella asiatica.

The need for conservation of wild medicinal and aromatic plants was also high on the agenda at the 10th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD CoP10) held in Nagoya, Japan in 2010.

The next CBD CoP will be held October this year in Hydrabad, India.

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Source: TRAFFIC.
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