KFRI launches help facility for farmers

The Kerala Forest Research Institute (KFRI) at Peechi has launched a single-point contact facility for farmers to seek expert opinion on medicinal plant cultivation and a farmers’ library.

Funded by the State Medicinal Plants Board, the on-call help centre will help clear doubts of medicinal plant growers, including individuals, societies, and organisations, so that their farming skills improve and they can take up cultivation in a scientific manner.

Clarifications right from selecting the type of planting material to harvest to processing and market for the plants can be sought here.

Though keen to start cultivation, they remain unaware of the medicinal plants in demand in the market, the entitlements due to them, and agencies through which these are available.

The KFRI’s on-call help centre will provide expert opinion to farmers with regard to the cultivation directly or over phone and inform them on time about financial and technical assistance announced by government and other agencies. It will also offer assistance in preparing projects or agreements related to farming and buyback of commodities.

Along with increase in cultivation, research on medicinal plants too has been growing. But in the absence of any compilation, this knowledge is scattered. Farmers end up having to contact multiple agencies to seek answers to their queries.

The farmers’ library will collect knowledge related to medicinal plants and their cultivation and compile it as reference material to make it available to those in need. It would also prepare booklets and brochures needed by farmers, project principal investigator A.V. Raghu said.

For doubts and clarifications, farmers could call 0487 2690333.

Minister for Health K.K. Shylaja inaugurated the help centre and the farmers’ library online on Tuesday. In her address, the Minister said this new initiative would help popularise medicinal plant cultivation across the State.

KFRI Director Syam Viswanath, in his welcome address, said this social research activity by the KFRI would count in the growth of the agriculture sensex in the State.

State Medicinal Plants Board chief executive officer T.K. Hrideek, who presented the project said, it would help ensure availability of medicinal plants in future.

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