Growing National Demand for Herbal Material

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Results of a survey carried out in 2000 showed that there were 104 Ayurvedic Drug Production Units in the country, using herbal materials valued at Rs. 176 million of which 68% is currently met by local supply. The national demand for herbal materials was 3,864,759 kg and approximately 1,509,201 kg of this amount was imported to meet the national demand at a cost of about Rs. 13 million (IUCN, 2001). Total requirement of certain Medicinal Plants are completely imported where the department of Ayurveda records show that in 2013 there were 86 raw materials (486,071 Kg) imported at the cost of Rs. 159.3 million. The figures very clearly demonstrate a significant drop of importation comparing to year 2000. According to the gazette notification No. 1660/15 dated 2009.05.05 there are 73 plant raw materials, 21 minerals, 7 animal drugs under Ayurveda section and 55 Unani raw materials declared as duty free for importation. In other study Withania somnifera, Trachyspermum roxburghianum, Hemidesmus indicus and Curculigo orchioides which have the highest imported percentages, were accounted for 95.45%, 90%, 73.68% and 72.22% respectively (Kankanamalage et al. 2013).
In 1970s only 18 different plant materials were imported by Sri Lanka and these imports cost Sri Lanka about Re. 1 million in foreign exchange each year. The apparent reason for importing plants that are already available on the island is that they grow in remote areas and it is less expensive to import them than to
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