India has 15 Agroclimatic zones and 17000-18000 species of flowering plants of which 6000-7000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of medicine, like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy. About 960 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 178 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tones. Medicinal plants are not only a major resource base for the traditional medicine and herbal industry but also provide livelihood and health security to a large segment of Indian population. The domestic trade of the AYUSH industry is of the order of Rs. 80 to 90 billion (1US$ = Rs.50) annually. The Indian medicinal plants and their products also account for exports in the range of Rs. 10 billion per annum. There is global resurgence in traditional and alternative health care systems resulting in increased world herbal trade which stands at US$ 120 billion and is expected to reach US$ 7 trillion by 2050. Indian share in the world trade, at present, however, is quite low.
Under the Scheme, any producer/collector/group of producers/collectors can obtain a certification from an approved certification body (CB) and will be under regular surveillance of the certification body. An option of getting a lot inspected and certified has also been made in the Scheme. It also allows certification of intermediaries like traders who may source certified medicinal plant material and supply further.
In order to encourage good agricultural and field collection practices in medicinal plants (GAP and GFCP) and enhance 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). QCI will manage the day to day operation of the Scheme.
The certification can be obtained for the following levels based on customer needs as per the requirements prescribed for each level:
Standard For Good Agricultural Practices
This standard covers good agricultural practices for cultivated medicinal plants in sustainable manner and maintaining quality of produce used by all stakeholders
Standard For Good Field Collection Practices
This standard covers Good Field Collection Practices for wild medicinal plants in sustainable manner and maintaining quality of produce used by all stakeholders.
This document covers the certification process of medicinal plants based on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCP) in the wild or intermediate entity like a trader. Producers/collectors/traders can achieve certification under any one of the four options described
a) Option 1 – Individual producer/collector applies for certification and gets certification for his/her produce.
b) Option 2 – A producer/collector group applies for group certification and the producer/collector group, as a legal entity, gets certification.
c) Option 3 – The individual farmer may opt for lot wise certification model based on GAP where he/she gets certificate of conformity of the lot of produce submitted to approved certification body for inspection
d) Option 4 – An intermediate entity like a trader applies for certification of the certified medicinal plant produce for proper storage for supplies in the market or to manufacturer/processor of Ayush Products