In India, where agriculture is the main occupation of about 70% of the population, the total area under cultivation is about 169.7 M ha. The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like droughts have increased during the last few decades due to global warming. In our country 1/6th of the total geographical area (51.1M ha) contributing 12% of population is drought prone. It covers 13 states including 74 districts.
Drought results in recurrent crop failure and yield reduction. Besides this, medicinal species are difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities from traditional suppliers owing to manpower scarcity and rising production cost, necessity of their cultivation in farms arises. So, the drought-tolerant plant species with medicinal values have been listed. Out of these, some plant species like Adhatoda, Tribulus & Ricinus require very low maintenance and man power.
Now-a-days, good foreign market exists for species like Aloe, Withania, Cassia, Liquorice, Rouwolfia, Datura and Lowsonia. So these cash crops procured from drought prone area can fulfill their high demand in market & contributes to India’s performance in terms of value. Therefore, a cultivator of these medicinal plants in drought-prone land will be sure of his investments in terms of cost-benefit ratio.
Further, average land holding in India is tiny and often split into scattered pieces which comes under marginal land holding (below 1 ha). For people below poverty line, cultivation of these drought tolerant plants provides a significant proportion of self-employment opportunities and supplements the income of most sections of India.
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