The ACME Laboratories Ltd. has been manufacturing both allopathic and herbal medicines for human and animal (Livestock) healthcare. The Company started medicinal plant cultivation activities as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and also to procure quality herbs produced as per WHO guideline in respect of Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) since long for improving health of human, animal and environment and also for contributing towards the risks mitigation initiatives regarding extinction crisis of medicinal plants in Bangladesh.
Major initiatives of ACME regarding medicinal plant cultivation are as under:
- ACME piloted medicinal plant cultivation in marginal/fallow land involving a few poor and marginal farmers of Bogra and Gaibandha district from 2006-07 which was first of its kind in Bangladesh.
- Series of trainings were imparted every year to the medicinal plant Local Service Providers/growers on cultivation & post harvest technique of five important medicinal plant species such as, Basak, Ashwagandha, Kalomegh, Tulsi and Shotomuli including WHO guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) for medicinal plants.
- In order to increase the income level of the medicinal plant growers and for contributing to the environmental health and biodiversity conservation, ACME as a part of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) undertook a dedication project namely Social, Environmental and Economic Development (SEED) project as an initiative for meeting challenges of extinction crisis of medicinal plants in Bangladesh.
- A feasibility study has been conducted by ACME’s Social, Environmental and Economic Development (SEED) project in the new areas with a view to assess the status of medicinal plant cultivation and marketing system in those areas. The study findings were instrumental of expanding selected medicinal plant cultivation in the new areas including those medicinal plants which are facing extinction crisis.
- ACME signed agreement with two International NGOs namely, United Purpose (Formerly known as Concern Universal) and HEVETAS Swiss Interco-operation in order to ignite cultivation of different medicinal plant species throughout the country for improving health of human, animal, environment and biodiversity.
In order to develop human resources an uphold the knowledge and skills of the medicinal plant Local Service Providers (LSP)/ moderately literate growers SEED project of ACME developed a comprehensive training manual for field level trainers titled, "প্রশিক্ষন নির্দেশিকা - নির্বাচিত ঔষধি উদ্ভিদের পরিচিতি ও চাষাবাদ" in line with WHO guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) for medicinal plants. The manual focused on identification of different medicinal plants, their cultivation & collection procedures together with integrated pest management technology. The training manual has been used by the concerned resource persons and the trainees as well in the Training of Trainers (ToT) programmes at different locations of the country. Local service Providers/Collectors participated in these ToT programmes with a view to eventually transferring the training learning to the marginal farmers of their respective areas.
SEED project of ACME developed another training manual namely, "ঔষধি উদ্ভিদ চাষিদের জন্য ব্যবহারিক শিক্ষা” targeting the illiterate and semi-illiterate farmers which focused on Bengali alphabet learning, identification of different medicinal plants & their cultivation technique and other practical topics useful to their daily life (e.g. basic mathematics, weight & measures, primary health care, sanitation etc.). Local Service Providers/Collectors participated in these ToT programmes in order to eventually transferring their training learning to the illiterate and semi-illiterate medicinal plant growers of their respective territory by organizing Uthan boithak/Lawn meeting.
A well-structured medicinal plant collection and supply chain model was developed led by ACME where Local Service Propiders(LSPs)/Collectors are working as a bridge between the Company and the marginal farmers.
In order to meet the consistent practice of maintaining the quality standard of herbal raw materials while collection and storage the Company extended its support regarding establishing Primary Collection & Multipurpose Centers and Sub Centers in the new areas of medicinal plant cultivation.
Due to well understanding, good coordination and unique relationship between ACME and the medicinal plant growers despite of several constraints and natural disasters thousands of small and marginal farmers predominantly women have been producing huge quantity of selective herbs. They are regularly supplying medicinal plant materials to ACME and other medicine manufacturing companies of the country. It has become an additional source of income of the medicinal plant growers and helping them to become self-reliant. During the year 2016-17, ACME procured substantially more quantity of selective herbs than previous years directly from the medicinal plant growers of different project areas in Bangladesh.
ACME has been rewarding the best performing Local Service Providers (LSP)/Collectors recognizing their services to the marginal farmers related to medicinal plant cultivation and collection.
The country continued cash incentive scheme for medicinal plant growers and collectors like previous years with a view to accelerate medicinal plant cultivation more fully, poverty alleviation, self-employment and women empowerment.
Recently the Company has taken initiative on trial basis for collecting honey from selective medicinal plants growing areas in order to diversify the product range of medicinal plant farmers so that additional income can be generated and superior quality of honey can be procured from the medicinal plant sources.