The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), in collaboration with the Quality Council of India (QCI), has launched a Voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plants Produce (VCS MPP) based on Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCP) of medicinal plants to enhance confidence in the quality of India's medicinal plant produce and make available good quality raw material to the Ayurvedic and herbal drug industry.
Under the scheme, any producer/collector/group of producers/collectors can obtain a certification from a designated certification body (CB) and will be under regular surveillance of the certification body. An option of getting a lot inspected and certified has also been made in the Scheme. It also allows certification of intermediaries like traders who may source certified medicinal plant material and supply further thereafter.
QCI is in the process of approving some Certification Bodies provisionally for the Scheme but ultimately the technical competence of such Certification Bodies would be established through the internationally recognized concept of accreditation. The National Accreditation Board for Certification Bodies (NABCB) under QCI, as the national accreditation body, is already operating a scheme for accreditation of Product Certification Bodies as per applicable international standard, ISO Guide 65, and will provide certification to bodies accredited as per the applicable international standard and competent to operate the medicinal plant certification scheme. Similarly, labs duly accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) will be used under the Scheme. These measures are designed to facilitate acceptance of the Scheme in international market in future.
On this occasion Dr G.J. Gyani, Secretary General, Quality Council of India observed "The scheme has been designed keeping the best international practices in view – the standards are based on WHO documents which were adopted by NMPB and the compliance checking will be done by independent, third party agencies conforming to international standards. The aim is not only to provide medicinal plants producers a means of differentiating themselves based on quality and sustainability but also obtain international acceptance for the Scheme in the long run."
India has 15 Agro climatic zones and 17000-18000 species of flowering plants of which 6000-7000 are estimated to have medicinal usage in folk and documented systems of medicine, like Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy. About 960 species of medicinal plants are estimated to be in trade of which 178 species have annual consumption levels in excess of 100 metric tonnes.
Medicinal plants are not only a major resource base for the traditional medicine and herbal industry but also provide livelihood and health security to a large segment of Indian population. The domestic trade of the AYUSH industry is of the order of Rs. 80 to 90 billion (1US$ = Rs.44). The Indian medicinal plants and their products also account for exports in the range of Rs. 10 billion.
There is global resurgence in traditional and alternative health care systems resulting in growing world herbal trade which stands at US$ 120 billion and is expected to reach US$ 7 trillion by 2050. Indian share in the world trade, at present, however, is quite low.
Medicinal plants producer/collector/group of producers/collectors, societies, traders, manufacturers of herbal medicines, Ayush operators, pharmaceutical industry and Ayush consumers would be benefited due to the assured quality of the medicinal plants/ herbs.
Above all this voluntary certification scheme would reduce risk of recall / rejection of Indian produce in the international market, also buyer confidence in Indian herbs will increase on account of assured legal compliance and assured sustainable collection.
About Quality Council of India
Quality Council of India (QCI) is an autonomous non-profit organization set up jointly by the Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations, Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM), Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). QCI is governed by a Council of 38 members with equal representation of Government, Industry and Consumers. Chairman of QCI is appointed by the Prime Minister's Office. "Quality for National Well-being" is the mandate of QCI.
Current focus areas of the Council are:
To be amongst the world's leading national apex quality facilitation, accreditation and surveillance organizations, to continuously improve the climate, systems, processes and skills for total quality.
To help India achieve and sustain total quality and reliability, in all areas of life, work, environment, products and services, at individual, organizational, community and societal levels.
OBJECTIVES OF QCI
Establish and maintain an Accreditation Structure in the country
Provide right and unbiased information on Quality & related standards
Spread Quality Movement in India
Represent India's interest in international forums
Help establish brand equity of Indian products and services