UNIDO DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMMES ON INDUSTRIAL UTILIZATION OF MEDICINAL AND AROMATIC PLANTS
The lack of access to modern therapy is still a factor of crucial importance in maintaining primary health care for major segments of the population in developing countries. The need to provide less expensive standardised quality preparations based on medicinal plants induced UNIDO to launch a programme of development assistance in this important and environment friendly area of activity.
An integrated approach was adopted exploiting fully this natural resource and developing small-scale agro-based industries. Along with the development of good quality traditional medicines, the possibilities of extracting known drugs, intermediates and the production of standard galenicals were explored. The other area that was considered important was the development of the essential oils industry, as many developing countries have rich resources of raw materials or the climatic conditions for the initiation of cropwise cultivation programmes. Though a lot of research has gone into synthetic substitutes for essential oils, the demand for natural oils has not declined. Hence the production of essential oils could still be a good source of foreign exchange revenue for developing countries.