Jan 18, 2007 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is promoting the cultivation of herbs used in indigenous medicine, through a network of farm villages, in a bid to cut down the cost of imports, a government minister said. Sri Lanka has a separate ministry for indigenous medicines which runs a network of Ayurvedic hospitals, medical centres and training facilities.
We spend about 200 million rupees annually to import such herbs, Minister of Indigenous Medicine Tissa Karalliyadda told the media.
Imports from India, the largest source, and home to the Ayurvedic medicinal treatment, was 143 million rupees in 2005.
In 2005 Sri Lanka has imported 158,140 kilos of dried ginger worth over 43 million rupees, 147,080 kilos of Katuwalbatu (Solanum Virginianum L) worth 8.7 million, over 78,000 kilos of dried nelli (Phipsalis baccifera) worth 5.4 million.
In 2005 the ministry has started a herbal farm village project to grow several rare herbs that were previously imported.
Up to now 58 herbal villages have been started with 2543 farmers. They have started cultivating about 20 plants of medicinal value.
Ministry officials say herb harvesting has recently started and import costs have not been cut