Experts highlighting the importance of the rich flora found in the country have sought sustainable harvesting and use of biodiversity products, including herbs and plants.
Addressing a national seminar on ethno-botany organized by IUCN – Pakistan speakers also suggested adequate protection and preservation of indigenous herbs and plants as these are a natural and national asset used for the benefit of humans.
Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Secretary at the Ministry of Climate Change, reminded that Pakistan abounds in botanical diversity and holds tremendous potential for their economic growth.
Economic scope of Botanical products is expanding day by day across the globe and therefore there is an urgent need to ensure speedy and quality-focused value chain.
“These efforts must be complimented with equal attention towards sustainable use of such products,” he said.
Syed Mahmood Nasir, Inspector General Forest/National Project Director (NPD) Mountain and Market Project said countries across the globe preserve the indigenous herbs and plants, and these should be protected for the benefit of humans.
Referring to the Nagoya Protocol, he said that the herbal and plant medicine was a billion-dollar industry and that the world is now moving towards organic and herbal medicine.
“The industry is likely to grow as more and more people are becoming aware of the asset,” he said reiterating that these products must be used in a sustainable manner.
He said one of the key components of the Mountain and Markets Project being executed by IUCN in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and UNDP in the northern areas of Pakistan was the formation of the Business and Bio-diversity Roundtable (BBRT).
This has brought together collectors, buyers and companies working on herbal medicine, and trained them in certifications, said the expert mentioning that country has almost reached the stage that herbs from Pakistan can be certified for export.
Nasir said herbal companies using various plants and herbs in their medicines, should refer to the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) list that encompasses details related to import, export, re-export and introduction from the sea of species covered by the Convention through a licensing system.