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An initiative towards assuring the best quality, safety and sustainability of medicinal plants.

Medicinal plants have been used in traditional medicine as the basic resources as well as in herbal industries. In the recent past, we all have noticed the steep growth in the use of herbal and alternative medicine. This plant-based classical system of medicine is generally considered safe, effective, inexpensive and natural. Therefore, to ensure sustainable and high-grade produce of botanicals, Capacity Building cum Sensitization Workshop on Good Agriculture Practices of VCSMPP facilitated by PHPL. We took an effort to organize this workshop to enlighten farmers and stakeholders in and around Anand. To strengthen Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCP) in medicinal plants and assure the best quality and safety of these plants, the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), in collaboration with the Quality Council of India (QCI), has launched a Voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plant Produce (VCSMPP).

The workshop titled, "VCSMPP 1-day GAP Training Workshop" for farmers, aggregators, consultants, FPOs was conducted at Viz Park at Anand Gujarat on 05th Oct 2021. This workshop was organized as a part of the ongoing capacity building program by both the Quality Council of India (QCI) and the National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) jointly. The workshop was partnered with Pharmanza Herbal Pvt Ltd which is a herbal product manufacturing company that is one of the few companies that focuses on standardizing and proving the efficacy of herbal products. Pharmanza herbal not only takes care of conservation and sustainability but also focuses on aspects like quality and high standard of produce, capacity building through training, raising awareness through promotional activities, and livelihood improvement of local communities. Dr. Shweta Singh (Scientist from PHPL) made the effort for inviting and conduct this workshop/training for the farmers and stakeholders at Anand

In the herbal industry, we often come across the Quality, Safety, Adulteration, Efficacy, and authentication of botanicals. Therefore, In the process to address this issue effectively and providing the best of best herbal products to the market, we came across this Voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plant Produce (VCSMPP). This enables producers, traders and manufacturers like us with multiple benefits of good quality, compliance and sustainability.

There were 60 farmers along with stakeholders who actively participated in the workshop and learned the art of certification. The workshop enlightened them about three major components of medicinal crops that is (a) Quality, (b) Sustainability (c) traceability. Collection. Many of these farmers have come across such training for the first time and were grateful for the opportunity. Farmers and stakeholders were interested to enable their products to be globally competitive with Good Agricultural Practices (GAP). In this workshop, they understood the framework of commercial agricultural production for long term improvement and sustainable livelihood security is essential. The process of GAP in addition to improving the yield and quality of the products, also GAP has environmental and social benefits. Implementation of GAP would promote optimum utilization of resources taken towards eco-friendly agriculture. Its social dimension would be to protect the agricultural workers’ health from improper use of chemicals and pesticides. This platform successfully made them aware of the critical impact of GAP on Indian agriculture. Later they exchanged their contacts and are connected via WhatsApp groups and various social circles. They are using these contacts further for their requirements and information exchange.

Two out of seven groups and individual farmers came ahead with the idea of getting the GAP certification done for their farms and the rest are exploring the ways which are best suitable for their produce.

However, there were some recommendations from the farmer's end as well related to GAP. The most important is a definite increase in the cost of production. They do find a gap in compliance between existing certification schemes and the availability of affordable certification systems which often leads to increased confusion and certification costs for farmers and exporters. Also, this can be made a little approachable for small scale farmers and help the small and marginal farmers to join the mainstream.

Hopefully, a better understanding of these practices will lead to quality end products from field operations in terms of high productivity and high-grade resource-use efficiency also increase in security income of farmers.

As a company, PHPL thrives on facilitating such opportunities to connect the farmers and field staff with the mainstream for the better produce, high-quality product and raise their socioeconomic condition. This proves to be a two-way development process at one end it helps betterment of supply chain at another end it raises the standard of our deliverables. As a company PHPL thrives to facilitate such opportunities to connect the farmers and field staff with main stream for the better produce, high-quality product and raising their socioeconomic condition. This proves to be a two-way development process at one end it helps betterment of supply chain at another end it raises the standard of our deliverables

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