Collection and Marketing of High Value Medicinal and Aromatic Plants from District Swat, Pakistan

Medicinal Plants - Swat

PSSP Working Paper 011: Collection and Marketing of High Value Medicinal and Aromatic Plants from District Swat, Pakistan by Dr. Hassan Sher presents an analysis of existing practices in collecting and trading high value medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) from District Swat, Pakistan. Local collectors/farmers and dealers were surveyed about their efforts, quantities collected, prices received and resulting incomes. Herbal markets in major cities of Pakistan were surveyed for current market trends, sources of material, imports and exports of herbal material, price patterns, and market product-quality requirements. The study notes that wild collection is almost the only source of medicinal plant raw material, with virtually no cultivation. Nomadic tribesman and local farmers involved in collecting MAPs are largely untrained regarding the pre-harvest and post-harvest treatment of collected materials, they lack marketing skills and access to larger markets, and are often unaware of the high prices their products earn at final sale. The trade pattern of MAPs is complex and heterogeneous, involving many players. The market share for District Swat has been declining. Reasons for the decline were identified as unreliable and often poor quality of the material supplied, length of the supply chain, and poor marketing strategies. This study posits that these problems can be addressed by improving the knowledge of those at the start of the supply chain, improving linkages among all steps in the chain, and developing sustainable harvesting practices.