Atsuyuki Hishida


Lately in Japan, the supply of most of crude drugs depends on the imports from China. However, from the standpoint of securing resources and risk diversification in the long term perspective, the resumption of domestic production has been attracting much attention. Recently, a local government and a pharmaceutical company presented their own policies on promotion and revival of the domestic production of medicinal plants. However, in Japan facing with the problem of aging society with a falling birthrate, the farming population is dwindling and the seeds and seedlings as well as the techniques for growing medicinal plants in formerly established production areas have mostly disappeared.

Since the uses of these crops are deeply associated with pharmaceutical products and human health, the safety and the quality of products need to be treated as the priority issues. On the other hand, from the viewpoint of business management, the production cost needs to be reduced to a low level. Consequently, what is at stake is to produce safe medicinal plants of high quality at a low cost. The efforts of research and development in this sector have to address such issues as the facilitation of acquisition of seeds and seedlings, the training of manpower, the development of mechanisation and labor saving technologies suited for large-scale cultivation. Furthermore, it is needed to develop the cultivars suitable for medicinal purposes as well as the methods of processing to produce products with high quality which are safe.

Our centre is committed to carry out the research on production, evaluation of product quality, and collection and preservation of resources of medicinal plants in Japan. We also offer, in response to the requests from local governments, the services of supplying seeds and seedling and of provision of technical assistance. Moreover, we carry out research programs in collaboration with pharmaceutical companies in order to develop labour saving techniques for large-scale mechanised cultivation aiming at cost reduction. The present report shall examine the relevant issues of the sector and the roles of agricultural sciences, through the presentation of research programs implemented by the Hokkaido Division of the Center, concerning the technologies for producing medicinal plants.


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