Challenges of Ex-situ cultivation of Bacopa

Brahmi or Bacopa monnieri is a small size herb that has been used in traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) as a brain tonic. In ayurvedic treatments, Bacopa has been recommended for various issues with brain functions such as anxiety, memory loss, insomnia, epilepsy etc. In modern scientific experiments, Bacopa has been found supporting the above traditional claims. Bacosides, the active compounds in Brahmi have been found effective on improving variety of brain functions along with liver and heart health. Owing to these benefits of Bacopa, it has been in great demand worldwide as a supplement to address various complaints related to brain functions.
North-East region having heavy rainfall are the native of this herb and are the major source of supply for many years. As per the recent market updates, most of these natural sources of Bacopa have been found contaminated with toxic chemicals and pesticide which is thought to be due to polluted ground water. As a result, consumer healthcare industries are forced to switch over to organic sources. Since this herb demands high water irrigation and brings many other agricultural challenges it is not a favourite in farmers for cultivation. The initial plantation cost is quite high which discourages farmers to pick up this plant as their farming choice. Looking to the persistent global demand it requires immediate intervention of concerned Gov. agencies such as National Medicinal Plant Board of India to fix this supply gap.
Despite the pile of challenges, PhytoFarm took the initiative and entered into the organic cultivation of this plant in the central Gujarat region where ground water is depleting day by day and not sufficiently available for even conventional crops. However, will power of local farmers and their traditional farming techniques made it possible to quench the natural thirst of Bacopa. Weeding, difficult harvesting and labour crisis were add-on challenges. After passing though all these hardship, at the time of sale, it has to compete with the cheap material collected from wild or waste lands where the plant is grown by nature not the human. It is sheer pleasure to eyes while gazing at green cover of Bacopa spread over farm surface but at the same time quite pitiful while looking at the reward the farmer gets for their hardship.

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