Quality risk assessment on traditional immunity booster plants cultivators in Punjab, India
In the aftermath of the COVID-19, India has witnessed an increase in the demand for immunity boosting plants. The Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India through National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) has decided to emerge medicinal plants as an attractive farming option in view of generating income for farmers. The aim of this work was to identify quality gaps through a descriptive study on the farmers of Punjab cultivating immunity booster plants and also conduct a quality risk assessment study to recognize various critical agricultural materials, processes and their impact on the critical quality attributes to ensure the pre-determined quality of medicinal plants. The use of chemical fertilizers, less availability of quality planting material, poor awareness of agro-climatic suitability, and Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP), were some of the problems in ensuring good quality of immunity booster plants. In order to fill these gaps, quality risk assessment studies identified critical materials and processes such as seed, fertilizers, pesticides, water, soil, authentication, sowing, site selection, phytoremediation, harvesting, drying, etc. that affected various quality attributes viz. yield, active constituents, toxicity indicators, physicochemical ranges and microbial load of immunity booster plants. Maintaining consistency is one of the major hurdles in agriculture due to several interfering biological and other factors, hence this quality risk assessment technique would enable farmer to fine-tune parameters by evaluating possible interactions with in-depth understanding.
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