Ms Shomita Biswas

Northeast – a haven of natural resources

The entire North East comprises of adjoining seven states of Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur. Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura and the Himalayan state of Sikkim. It is one of the richest conglomerations of native flora, fauna and tribes with their distinct languages, cultures and traditions. The man-made civilization and modernization at the cost of natural assets have not touched yet in maximum parts of these states.

Sprawling hilly terrain in most of the areas interspersed with valleys and plains are common sight. Historically, early settlers had domesticated several species, worshiped nature in all its forms like hills, forests, herbs and trees, animals which give rise to a wide array of characteristic ecosystem. The ‘sacred groves’ are the living evidences of the ancient people who visualized the strength of conservation of nature and natural resources as it is.

Medicinal plants consisting of trees, shrubs, climbers and herbs could easily be accommodated along with food crops in between rows, underneath or in association, round homestead, farmland, wasteland and so on so as to grow the raw materials for local uses besides opening new avenues of additional employment and income. Again, domestic and international demand for authentic raw medicinal plants is constantly on the rise. The NE states houses so many valuable medicinal species whose conservation, cultivation, value addition and its effective marketing and so on are of prime importance for overall development of these states.

(Ms Shomita Biswas is the CEO of National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB); Ministry of AYUSH)