Researchers at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi have developed a herbal infusion technology as a sustainable means of income for local marginal farmers in the mid-Himalayan region.
The team at the institute's Botanical Garden and Medicinal Plant Lab analysed various herbs growing in the mid-Himalayan region in and around the villages surrounding IIT Mandi, Kamand region for developing value-added products in the form of herbal infusions known for their health benefits (mainly rich in anti-oxidants).
According to the team, the technology is ready for licensing for potential industries who are keen to work with EWOK (a rural incubator at IIT Mandi) in the interest of uplifting the Kamand Valley farmers.
"The research and scientific analysis allowed the team to employ various herbs growing in the mid-Himalayan region in and around the villages surrounding IIT Mandi, Kamand region for developing value-added products in the form of herbal infusions known for their health benefits (mainly rich in anti-oxidants).
"Till now, the team has successfully formulated nine different herbal infusions with constituents such as tulsi, mint, rose, amla, bayleaf, turmeric, rhododendron and lemongrass," said Shyam K Masakapalli, Associate Professor, IIT Mandi.
"The goal is to create 100 Kamand Valley Infusion formulations and establish an farmer-academia-industry-NGO network for buy-back and sustainable market linkages. Vacuum drying process is optimised for each herb for maintaining quality," he added.
The incubator has also received funding from NABARD to establish three framer producer companies (FPCs). "One FPC is mainly focusing on aromatic and medicinal plant farming, value-addition and market linkages.
The lab is training local farmers in collaboration with EWOK with regards to farming of herbals, processing, packaging and marketing of the infusions. It is anticipated that this FPC will support about 200 farmers in within the next few years," Masakapalli said. — PTI
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