(GMCL) THE GRAM MOOLIGAI CO. LTD (GMCL) is a public limited company. It was registered in India in the year 2000. Its share-holders comprise 42 cooperative groups of collectors and cultivators of medicinal plants in Tamil Nadu. In addition, trading of medicinal plants and their byproducts collected by cooperative groups of collectors and cultivators of states of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh is done through GMCL.


The primary objectives of GMCL are to promote and maintain sustainable cultivation and utilization of medicinal plants (MP) and to plough back the benefits from such cultivation and utilization to rural communities engaged in the same. A supplementary aim is also to educate the consumer about MPs and MP based products. GMCL enters into contracts with companies like Dabur, Himalaya and Nature Remedies to supply them quality raw material of medicinal plants and their by-products accessed from these groups. Access to these is provided by the groups of collectors and cultivators in the four states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and Tamil Nadu with their Prior Informed Consent. The understanding between GMCL and these groups and expectations from each other covers the followingFrom collectors/cultivators
1. That harvesting would be done at proper time applying sustainable extraction practices 2. That quality parameters of the material would be ensured INDIA NATURALLY 59 From GMCL 1. It would provide training and skills in cultivation and sustainable harvesting to members of the groups
2. It would determine quality parameters and train the groups in securing these parameters
3. It would get remunerative and fair price for the produce and share it with the groups equitably. Nature and Extent of Benefit Sharing Monetary Benefits GMCL gets a higher than usual market price of medicinal plants and their by-products because of quality control and quality assurance of the material. 70% of this premium price is passed on to the groups of cultivators and collectors. GMCL pays dividends to its share-holder groups from whatever is its own profit. Groups of cultivators and collectors from Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa, which are not share-holders, receive some share out of these profits as festival bonus and similar ex-gratia payments from time to time.

Need for the Initiative

Benefits to cultivators and collectors in kind are given by providing them training of Good Collection Practices (GCP). Training programs are arranged village wise just before the collection season. A manual of quality of raw drugs for good collection practices (GCP) is prepared and distributed to gatherer groups to ensure sustainability and quality of the produce. The training is imparted through illustrated methodology manual in local language. This ensures avoiding reckless harvest. The Thumb rule mainly followed is “harvest only matured produce” as it ensures the product quality and earns better price and assured market. An example of the good collection practice (GCP) tips taught to be used by the GMCL gatherers are based on traditional practices and publications of Indian Institute of Forest management (IIFM), Bhopal
1. Collect after the seeds are shed to facilitate regeneration.
2. Do not dig too deep for collection of roots and spare some roots part for regeneration.
3. Collect products when fully matured. Often a festival celebrated before harvest.
4. Do not cut or pull branches for collecting leaves, fruits, flowers, and so on.
5. Harvest only mature branches for stem.
6. Harvest bark from mature plant only; from the branches of the main trunk.
7. Strip the bark longitudinally and not from all around trunk/branches.
8. Harvest the seeds once the fruits are completely mature.
For collection of gums, oils, resins etc. the instructions given are-

  • Make incisions only vertically on some portions of the tree and not horizontally.
  • Treat the incisions after collection of the desired material with soil, cow-dung.
  • Do not collect the gum or resin from a tree continuously. Give some break from time to time
  • Do not leave collected gum/resin exposed in the field. Pack them in drums. The material adhering only to the above protocols is stored, packed and labeled by GMCL and its passport data sheets are prepared to share with BMC buyer as needed. This ensures both quality and sustainability.
  • Immature, half cut/damaged or poor quality/infected produce is avoided at source rather than be taken to face rejection by the client. Training is also organized for value addition to medicinal plant products. This value addition includes traditional practices based principles and techniques and modern practices and tools.
  • However, GMCL only imparts training in this and does not use or pass on any traditional knowledge or practice to buyers.

Impact of this good practice-

GMCL has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Access and Benefit Sharing with State Biodiversity Board of Madhya Pradesh (MPSBB) on 20 February 2013. According to the MoU, GMCL pays 2% of its sales income as royalty to M.P State Biodiversity Board. The benefit sharing fee amounts to Rs. 50,000/- to Rs. 1 lakh a year to MPSBB based on the sale value of this material from this sale. Similar benefit sharing arrangements apply to the state of Orissa as voluntary standard. Similarly arrangements are under consideration for other states. GMCL procures the raw drugs from Orissa with transit pass from the local forest officer and a permit from Panchayat, after paying the requisite fee as required by Local Panchayat Regulation 2000. Road Ahead GMCL helps about 1,000 tribal producers earn better through training, capacity building and awareness programmes and eventually giving them a remunerative market linkage. For these resource poor farmers, living in the drought prone areas, it ensures livelihoods through cultivation, conservation and sustainable use of resources. The case is a good beginning for equitable benefits to medicinal plant cultivators and gatherers for the access they provide to their material including the by-products of medicinal plants. The scientific cultivation and good returns from medicinal plants provide an additional source of income to the farmers which are essential for sustenance especially in times of drought and climate change when the crops fail to give expected returns. Farmers in other parts of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa face severe stress on this account and are sometimes driven to life threatening actions in such times. But the benefits arising from the cultivation and sale of medicinal plants support the livelihoods and enhance the income of the communities covered by this arrangement with GMCL. While it is a good model for sustainable cultivation, harvesting and benefit sharing with the farmers, there is a scope to explore possibilities of value addition at source to generate further benefits to these groups of cultivators and gatherers.