Prisoners in Andhra Pradesh will grow herbs for the Himalaya Drug Company, India's leading herbal health and personal care company.
The company will impart training to the prisoners for cultivating medicinal herbs. After the training, they will undertake cultivation of medicinal herbs for Himalaya Drugs at the Prison Farm in Prisoners' Agricultural Colony, Anantapur.
Himalaya officials Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding with the department of prisons.
Dr Babu, head (Agrotech and Phytochemistry) of Himalaya Drug Company told reporters that the company will also supply seeds and provide technical assistance
Under the MoU, the jail department will choose 30 prisoners to grow herbs in two-acre plot.
"To begin, the inmates will cultivate the herb alfalfa, as it can be planted any time during the year, giving high yields over a short period of time," said Babu.
Himalaya Drugs will buy back all the produce while the department of prisons will pay monthly wages to the prisoners growing the herbs.
Director General of Prisons and Correctional Services T.P. Das said the programme was designed for the welfare and rehabilitation of the prisoners by equipping them with basic skills that will help them in future employment.
The project is on the lines of a similar one implemented successfully by Himalaya Drugs in Karnataka.
The company, which registered a turnover of Rs.1,200 crore last year, is growing at a compounded annual growth rate of 25-30 percent.