Cultivation of Medicinal Plants by farmers in respective farmlands – An enthusiastic participation by community of Village Gesh.

The village unfolds after a long and arduous track of 35 km from the nearest motor able road. The pathway covers through well endowed temperate forests of dense pines, the Himalayan oak and the lovely rodendron trees. Situated in the laps of Himalayas, the village offers breathtaking view of Trishuli range. The environs here are mesmerizing with uniquely habitat flora and fauna. Ridges of these mountains abound long alpine pastures (Bugyals) which expanse to the Himalayan heights in the north. The region offers diversified opportunities to the community as agro climate enables semi cold, cold temperate and alpine vegetation to its habitants.

Upper Hamlets

Sarmatha, Khikola, Himani, Balan

Lower Hamlet Pinow, Ghesh
Micro Watershed
Kail Ganga
Altd. From Sea Level
2200 mtrs to 3000 mtrs.
Cold Temperate & Alpine
Distance from Road
35 km to 60 km
Herbs Cultivated Kutki (Picrorhiza kurrooa), Kuth (Saussurea Lappa)
Period year 2002 - 2006

The program is self initiative of Grower community, undertaken through our support to them. The organisation had garnered Technical support from HAPPRC (High Altitude Plant Physiology Research Centre), H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar Garhwal to provide the villagers with scientific input in cultivation of medicinal and Aromatic plant. The program has been mobilised through sheer motivation without support of any funds.

Our initiatives in the region:

Conducting Exploratory Visit=>discussion with farmers of Ghesh => Training & monitoring – conducted with scientists from HAPPRC, HRDI & UYRDC => Cultivation and marketing

This program began with an exploratory visit with scientist from HAPPRC and people representatives of village Ghesh in the alpine meadows in search of herbaceous plants. The exploration was designed with the purpose to study the natural habitats in the region. This study would bring possibility in suggesting Medicinal plants that can be grown in the farmlands as the region has a natural advantage

The exploration was followed by discussion with the community of Ghesh. All these activities were designed and organised in consultation with Village Pradhan Shri. Kesar Singh and his colleague Shri.Harak Singh, both retired personals from the army. The farmers of the village were enthusiastic on the ideology of cultivating Medicinal and Aromatic Plants with commercial objectives in spite of it being the remotest village from the road head in Pinder valley, 40km in the interiors from the road to as far as 60 km to the furthest of its hamlet (Himani, Balan & Pinow). The region lies in the high altitude mountain zones (2200 mtrs to 3000mtrs MHSL) receiving heavy snowfalls in the winters.

The discussion was put through technical inputs on aspects of cultivation methods for Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. Villagers had taken effective note on the technical inputs. 5 days training program was organised at Gesh Village. This initiative has given a boost to the people of Gesh to cultivate these Medicinal plants in farmland.

The farmers of Gesh bought seeds from HAPPRC, H.N.B. Garhwal University, Srinagar and germinated them in their polyhouse. The cultivated seedlings were transplanted in respective farmland for cultivation. The farmers informally formed a growers association “Ghesh Farmers Growers Association” to sell their produce in the market. The organisation made periodical visits, every Quarterly in a year, to the village and documented the progress. The field assistants involved in the activity have been facilitating to them on inputs required on polyhouse management, plant ailments and cure.

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Benefits Derived:

i). Marketing of Produce: Facilitating the farmers by organising buy back arrangement with trader (M/S Dhawan International)

The organisation with support from TIFAC, HAPPRC, NMPB has facilitated forward linkages; Farmers of Gesh with M/S Dawan International on immediate buy back on the harvested Kutki (Picrorhiza Kurrooa – Botanical name). The trader has bought kutki at a price of Rs.200/kg. The farmers sold around 5 quintals of kutki.

ii). Cultivation:

Cultivation Details – Year Wise Of Picrorhiza Kurrooa (Kutki) And Saussurea Lappa (Kuth) in Ghesh Village.

In Ghesh Village 66 farmers have started the cultivation of kutki and kuth on their land since June –July 2002. Details are as follows:-

Picrorhiza kurrooa cultivation (Kutki) :
Activity Description Area/
Total area covered for Kutki cultivation 3.5 ha
Total area cultivated in the year 2003 1.5 ha
Total area cultivated in the year 2004 1.5 ha
Total area cultivated in the year 2005 0.5 ha
Total area under kutki harvesting in the year 2005 0.05 ha
Total Seeds produce by the farmers 1.5 kg
Total area covered for nursery development 0.5 ha
Saussurea Lappa cultivation (Kuth):
Total area cultivated in the year 2003 0.5 ha
Total area under Kuth harvesting in the year 2005 0.5 ha
Total seeds have been produce by the farmers 5 kg
Total area covered for Kuth Nursery development 0.05 ha

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iii). Training Program:

Special 5 days training by HAPPRC was organised at Ghesh under the Subject: 'Cultivation Techniques for Medicinal Herbs'.

iv). Harvesting:

Farmers have harvested Kuth and Kutki during October 2005
Area cover is 3 hectare for the harvest of kuth and kutki
Target produce capacity is 5 quintals of kutki

c). Quantitative Benefit:

Through this established linkage farmers have sold their produce to the Trader at Rs.200/kg of Kutki. Around 5 quintals of Kutki was sold to the trader for Rs 1,00,000.00. This initiative received much appreciation and accolades given the fact that the village is amongst the remote most in the project belt , visibly one of the remote most in the state. Approximate of 32+ km away from the nearest roadhead till 70 km away from furthest away hamlets with no telecommunication network established till date.

Picrorhiza kurrooa Cultivation

d). Qualitative Benefit:

• This initiative of farmer has raised keenness amongst the traders to come forward and venture business programs with them. Mr. Vikas Dhawan, M/S Dhawan International, a buying agency has signed MOU with the farmers and has purchased harvested Medicinal Plant variety of Kutki through the village association.

• The effort of farmers of village Gesh has encouraged other farmers of the valley to take fruitful lessons and emulate experiences in respective farmlands.

• This activity has been a moral boost to the farmers who had no hope, neither fascinated on such a fruitful endeavour. The herbal program has induced a can do attitude and achieve higher goals in near future.

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Stepforward :

The efforts of community is worth applauding as the initative required a gestation period of 3 years before the first harvest of Kutki. The Farmers raised the herbs on otherwise cash crop farms were crops have been harvested yearly.

There is a need to support initiatives on a large scale through provision of adequate technological infrastructure to boost greater yields in farms and capacitate growers holistically.

Our efforts are moving in the direction to aid the cause and seek support from public and private agencies for achieving enhanced livelihoods and sustained environment.

We are engaged in Saussurea Lappa Cultivation & Picrorhiza Kurrooa Cultivation with Mountain Farmers District Chamoli, Uttarakhand State


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