Bio-Fuel and Medicinal Plant Cultivation

One of the main reasons for food security crisis at global level is the diversion of agricultural lands that were used for cultivating maize and wheat to bio-fuel and medicinal plants in the United States and other European, Asian and African countries. The recent preference for cultivation of sugarcane and other field crops for production of ethanol is certainly considered to be a big challenge for the food security of the world. At the same time, there has been considerable increase in cultivated area of medicinal plants like amla, ashwagandha, sarpagandha and bio-fuel crops like jatropha witnessed in India in the recent years. For example, the cultivated area under amla was reported as 100,000 ha in India and it occupies about 40,000 ha in South India itself. In Tamil Nadu, the cultivated area under amla was found to be increased from mere 46 ha in 2000 to 9020 ha in 2011 which reflects the higher rate of increase in terms of crop diversification. In several instances, it was recorded that the traditionally productive regions for cultivation of food crops like rice and wheat were converted to medicinal and bio-fuel crops, which is really alarming in the context of food security. Hence, there is a strong necessity of regulating the amount of land area and nature of land that can be diversified for this purpose.

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