Major TCM hub pushes for standardized herb cultivation

LANZHOU, Aug. 25 (Xinhua) — Under the scorching sun in Dongjiabao Village in the heartland of Gansu Province, northwest China, Yan Baiping, 38, is busy weeding his traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) crops.

Yan’s TCM herbs are thriving thanks to the region’s growing emphasis on standardized cultivation methods, which promotes eco-friendly cultivation and innovative pest control techniques, thereby reducing the usage of fertilizers and pesticides.

China has been promoting the standardized green cultivation of TCM herbs to meet market demand for high-quality, high-yield herbs that adhere to these standards.

A decade ago, due to poor cultivation practices, Yan struggled with lower herb quality and reputation, as well as price pressure from buyers.

Over the last 10 years, he has embraced green standards, joining a local demonstration base for TCM herb cultivation.

Under the Good Manufacturing Practice standards established by leading local pharmaceutical companies and expert guidance, his yields increased. The government also provides organic fertilizers as subsidies annually.

Last year, various favorable policies saw Yan earn over 30,000 yuan (about 4172.5 U.S. dollars) from 0.33 hectares of TCM herbs. This year, he expanded the field to nearly 2 hectares, anticipating an income increase of over 30,000 yuan.

Gansu is a major base for the production and supply of TCM raw materials. In 2022, 1.47 million tonnes of TCM herbs were produced in Gansu, ranking among the top nationwide, and 55 percent of them were cultivated using standardized methods, local statistics showed.

Longxi County in Gansu benefits from a unique natural climate that is exceptionally suited for the growth of various TCM herbs. To maintain quality, Longxi allocated over 30 million yuan annually for standardized cultivation.

At present, 23,300 hectares of the county’s 33,300 hectares of total TCM herb planting areas have adopted standardized green cultivation, said Wang Wei, director of the county’s office for TCM industry development.

On Thursday, the fourth China (Gansu) Traditional Chinese Medicine Industry Expo kicked off in Longxi. Many attendees highlighted that the continuous promotion of standardized cultivation will provide a solid foundation for the inheritance and innovation of TCM in China.

Yu Yanhong, head of China’s National Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine, said during the expo that authorities are rapidly formulating documents to promote the high-quality development of the TCM industry, while enhancing technological research and development throughout the entire industry chain.

“To enhance the standardization of TCM herb cultivation, China is focusing on improving the quality of herbs from the source and advocating for a comprehensive quality tracing system across the entire chain, thus, enhancing the core competitiveness of the TCM industry,” Yu said.

Major TCM hub pushes for standardized herb cultivation
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