188,000 ha under cultivation of medicinal plants in Iran

July 21, 2018 - 9:6

TEHRAN – Medicinal plants are cultivated on some 188,000 hectares of lands in Iran, said an official with the Ministry of Agriculture.

Javad Mirarab made the remarks on the sidelines of the first national festival of Gilan province’s medicinal plants held in the Islamic Azad University of Astara on July 19-20, IRNA reported on Thursday.

The festival aimed at commercializing medicinal plants in the city of Astara, with attendance of university professors, business and government officials and foreign participants. Presenting the modern knowledge and experiences, also the latest scientific achievements in cultivation, harvesting and export of medicinal plants in the climatic conditions of Gilan province and Astara were also among the objectives of the event.

Out of 188,000 hectares under cultivation of medicinal herbs, some 107,000 hectares of lands are growing saffron and some 20,000 hectares are producing Damask rose, Mirarab explained.

According to the sixth five-year national development plan (2016-2021), a total of 100,000 hectares area of land across the country is allocated for the cultivation of medicinal plants, he said, adding that increased production of medicinal herbs is also among the major policies of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Last year, nearly 7 trillion rials (about $163 million) has been allotted to production of medicinal plants, he stated.

He went on to say that exports of the aforesaid medicinal plants brought $450 million for Iran last year, and saffron with a value of $325 million constituted the largest share of exports.

Some 780 hectares of farm lands in Gilan is under cultivation of medicinal herbs, and some 540 hectares are growing borage, he mentioned.

The Ministry of Agriculture supports the knowledge-based companies and investors of medicinal plants sector, he concluded.

According to the World Health Organization Traditional (WHO) herbal medicines are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances with minimal or no industrial processing that have been used to treat illness within local or regional healing practices. Traditional herbal medicines are getting significant attention in global health debates.

Global herbal market size is estimated approximately $72 billion which is predicted to reach $7 trillion by 2050. Medicinal plants are used in various industries which are worth around $80 billion.

Europe is the largest herbal product market valued at $7.5 billion and has 40% market share. China has the highest number of medicinal plants and also is the leader in export of medicinal plants globally having 15% sharing global export under this category.

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