The cultivation of medicinal plants has become a lucrative agribusiness, thanks to the increasing use of relatively safe and affordable plant-based remedies for common ailments. With the depletion of the herbal resources of forests, which have typically been the main source of procuring therapeutically important vegetation, these plants now need to be grown on agricultural fields to meet their burgeoning demand from the pharmaceutical, cosmetics, and other industries. These plants generally do not require much investment, or large landholdings, to grow but give high returns. Some knowledge of the plant-specific agronomic practices is, no doubt, helpful to get good yields but this information is now readily available from various sources. Many public- and private-sector institutions provide training in growing medicinal plants. Most of the large manufacturers of herbal drugs and other value-added products prefer to go in for contract farming of these plants, guaranteeing the growers to buy their entire produce at mutually agreed prices. Several farmers’ producer organisations and start-ups have also entered this field. Many of them have developed their own brands as well. Most importantly, exports of curative herbs, their extracts, and other products are also going up. India shipped Ayurvedic drugs, skincare products, and other herbal items worth around $539 million in 2019-20, mostly to Europe and other developed countries.
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