Publication date: 01/07/2014
Asia and the Pacific region is very rich in its diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAP). Any threat to these valuable resources will not only jeopardize the health of millions of people in the region, but will also affect the livelihoods of resource poor farmers and communities that depend on them. Therefore, more focus should be placed on research, development and marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants by countries in Asia and the Pacific. It is well known that over 80 per cent of the world’s population depend largely on traditional medicines derived from plants for their healthcare. In some developed countries, medicinal and aromatic plants have moved from essentially unknown, minor agricultural plants to crops that many farmers consider economically remunerative, safe and beneficial to society. Medicinal and aromatic plants deserve urgent attention to ensure their conservation, evaluation, genetic enhancement and scientific cultivation by the farming communities in the region.
Today, many valuable medicinal and aromatic plants are available in Asia and the Pacific. People living in the region can benefit from these plants if they adopt scientific methods to increase production, link producers to markets and enable value to be created through the supply chain.
It is also extremely important to conserve the genetic resources of medicinal and aromatic plants in order to save them from extinction, since they are otherwise exposed to overexploitation and the negative consequences of climate change. The growing demand for medicinal and aromatic plants makes them remunerative alternative crops for smallholder farmers. However, more research is needed on propagation methods, harvesting and processing techniques, germplasm collection, genetic improvement, quality control and marketing.
In view of the above concerns, a Regional Expert Consultation on Promotion of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants in Asia and the Pacific Region was organized jointly by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI) from 2-3 December 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The consultation was attended by 38 experts from 14 countries including representatives from the FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific and APAARI. The expert consultation provided a neutral platform to share knowledge and experiences, to discuss a future Road Map to promote medicinal and aromatic plants, and to hold in-depth discussions and assess national and regional priorities. It also enabled participants to address the emerging issues and challenges for making this vital MAP sector more vibrant, demand driven and market oriented.
These proceedings provide the main recommendations of the expert consultation as well as extended summaries of lead papers and country reports. It is hoped that the recommendations that emerged from the consultation will draw the attention of policy-makers, administrators, researchers, industry, farmers and other stakeholders to the need for enhancing research, development and extension efforts in promoting medicinal and aromatic plants in the Asia-Pacific region.Countries: