Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala is planning a road map for biotechnology to tap the state's
huge potential in medicinal and aromatic plants. The state capital on Monday saw
pharmaceutical experts, manufacturers and academics gather at a workshop on medicinal and
Dr. Muhammed Majeed, a US based Keralite and managing director of Sami Labs Ltd, a
Bangalore-based company that makes products from herbal extracts, said at the workshop
that Kerala has tremendous potential in the herbal extraction market. But, unfortunately,
there is hardly any organize system to grow such cash rich plants or to process such
If we dont do something now, it might be late because several states are now
trying to do that, Majeed told IANS.
Te turnover of Sami Labs Ltd in the last financial year was Rs.250 crore, of which
products like phyto pharmaceuticals, cosmoceuticals and herbal product derivatives
accounted for Rs.75 crore. While inaugurating the workshop, Kerala health minister
P.Sankaran said India has done very little on this front; its exports of herbal products
are a mere RS 446 crore. Kerala has about 800 units manufacturing ayurveda products
but despite the large number, we really have not been able to exploit the huge
biodiversity of our state, said Sankaran.
Rajiv Vasudevan, special officer of biotechnology in the state government, emphasized the
need for the state to develop a research agenda covering a spectrum of needs, from
ensuring availability of quality plant material to large-scale cultivation of important
medicinal plants to harvesting, storage, processing, testing and packaging to meet the
The need of the hour is a shot-term strategy coupled with long-term strategy in this
regard, and I feel we are going in the right direction for attracting investments in this
sector, said Vasudevan.
A.V. Anoop director of Chennai-based Cholayil Pharmaceuticals, manufacturers of the
Medimix brand soaps, said Kerala would first have to identify the right plans and
begin large scale cultivation of these plants in an organized manner.
We have a lot of plants in the state that can be useful, and for that we have to
document them in the proper perspective. If not, these extracts would be patented in other
countries, said Anoop.
Already, Germany is taking up ayurveda in a big way by setting up an ayurveda
college there. We have every thing here and apart from large-scale production, we should
also have a mechanism by which we could store and also do the processing.