‘Good Field Collection Practices’ by Prof. Rabinarayan Acharya


Good Field Collection Practices


Prof. Rabinarayan Acharya, Department of Dravyaguna, IPGT&RA, Jamnagar



  1. Sustainability
  2. Collection Regulations
  3. Prevention of Contamination, Degradation and Damage
  4. Optimization of Active Ingredients
  5. Documentation and Traceability


  3. International regulation and guidelines.
  4. National regulations
  5. Local regulations
  6. Permission for collections

Quality Considerations

  1. Botanical authenticity of species:
  2. Botanical authenticity of new plants:
  3. Collection of healthy plants:
  4. Harvesting at right phonological stage:
  • Underground parts
  • Annual herbs/ Whole plants
  • Stem Bark
  • Stem or wood
  • Flower and floral parts
  • Fruits and seeds
  • Gums and resins
  • Others (Galls, Lac etc.)
  1. Weather conditions for collection:
  2. Sorting of produce:
  3. Foreign matter:
  4. Mixing of Toxic weeds:

Environmental Considerations

  1. Conservation status of species:
  2. Sensitive species:
  3. Distribution of species:
  4. Regeneration of species:
  5. Frequency of collection:
  6. Minimizing the harm to source plant:
  7. Habitat management:

Social Considerations:

  1. Local use of the species:
  2. Equity
  3. Cultural Considerations:
  5. Cleaning
  6. Sorting
  7. Drying
  9. Packaging
  10. Storage
  13. Identification
  14. Traceability
  15. Documentation

Training and capacity building:

  2. Risk assessments
  3. Training on health and safety
  4. Hazards and First Aid
  5. Protective Clothing/Equipment


The standard provides requirements for Good Field Collection Practices on different aspects for harvesting and post harvest management of medicinal plants. The details of requirements is

  2. The site for collection of medicinal plant produce should be free from toxic elements and from places not prone to contamination. Information on exposure of the collection place from insects, chemicals, toxic gases, sewage, automobiles etc., also from or near anthills, industrial areas, sewage lines, crematoria, hospitals, mining sites, public utilities, automobile workshops.
  3. The sites close to road with heavy vehicular traffic must be avoided. Plants close to roadside are perpetual exposure to vehicular exhaust are unsuitable for human consumption. Hence harvested/collection must be avoided.
  4. The site is known as a reliable source for the species intended to collect should be selected. In this regard if any site survey report from an authorized agency is available should be produced.
  5. The site have gregarious populations of the intended species should be selected.
  7. The collection, processing, storage and sale of medicinal plant produce carried out in accordance with the existing laws. This needs compliance to laws enacted by both Central and local Governments.
  8. The collection, processing, storage and sale of medicinal plant produce carried out in accordance with the international treaties and conventions signed by India. The various international treaties and conventions related to conservation of biodiversity signed by India must be respected while collecting any medicinal plant produce from the wild.
  9. International regulation and guidelines
  10. The provisions laid down in the CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, also known as the Washington Convention) CITES regulations must be adhered to while collecting any medicinal plant produce from the wild. The collection managers and collectors should be imparted on the provision of CITES and the regulation copy must be available on site.
  11. The collection managers and collectors of the medicinal plant produce meant for export, honour existing laws of the importing countries? Besides the regulatory authorities in the country of import, local secretariats of CITES, IUCN and TRAFFIC may be consulted for such laws and regulations.
  12. National regulations
  13. The provisions of Indian Forest Act 1927, The Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, The Forest (Conservation) Act 1980, The Biological Diversity Act 2002, The Scheduled Tribes & Other Traditional Forest-Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006 should be followed.
  14. Local regulations
  15. The collectors/collection managers should be aware of the local regulations governing the collection, transit and sale of the medicinal plant produce in specific areas and abide by them.
  16. ROR of local regulations enacted by states such as The Madhya Pradesh Sustainable Harvesting Act 2005, The Andhra Pradesh Red Sanders Wood Possession Rules 1989, The HP Forest Produce Transit (Land Routes) Rules, 1977, The Tamil Nadu Sandalwood Transit Rules, 1967, and The Maharashtra Forest Produce (Regulation of Trade) Act, 1969. etc.
  17. Permission for collections
  18. The collectors/collection managers must have taken prior written permission from the authorized agency for collection, possession, transit and sale of the medicinal plant produce, when required under law.
  19. The documentary proof of such permissions must be kept in safe custody. Such medicinal plant produce, when traded, must be accompanied by appropriate documentation in accordance with the laws and regulations


Quality Considerations

  1. Botanical authenticity of species:
  2. The botanical identity (genus, species etc) must be established before the plant species are collected from the wild. The identity of the plant from which the produce is being collected verified and records should be maintained.
  3. The species collected should be the same as given in statutory documents. Where ever prior testing is done to authenticate the identity, the voucher specimens should be preserved in an appropriate manner along with the test reports.
  4. Botanical authenticity of new plants:
  5. The identity of new medicinal plant species collected, which does not have any monographs in any of the pharmacopoeias or reference books, should also be identified form authentic source and should be maintained.
  6. The identity of new medicinal plant species should be established in consultation with BSI or FRI or any recognized national or regional herbaria.
  7. Field Collection Protocol should also be available. An operating manual/ collection protocol applicable for the botanical species should be made available at the site for the collectors/ collection manager. Such manual/ protocol should be drafted in the local language using simple & instructional text.
  8. Collection of healthy plants:
  9. Only healthy desired individual plant species should be harvested except when the medicinal value of the species comes from insect galls, agar wood etc.
  10. Plants, which are infested with insects, pests, fungi, bacteria or virus, should be avoided. Criteria for selection of healthy plants should be laid down well with specific reference to the species- in the Operation manual/ Collection protocol.
  11. Harvesting at right phonological stage:
  12. In order to ensure optimum quantity of biologically active substances, in the medicinal plant produce, harvesting should be done at the right phenological developmental stage.
  13. The collection time in terms of phenological stage of plant species along with dates and months for each medicinal plant must be documented

Underground parts

  1. The roots of annual plants must be dug when the plants are well developed and mature.
  2. Roots of perennials should be harvested late in the fall or early in the spring.
  • Roots of biennial should be collected in either the fall of the first year or spring of the second year.
  1. The root material that is rich in essential oils should be handled carefully to prevent bruising of the epidermis, where the oils typically reside, which could result in loss of essential oil or its degradation.
  2. Unless otherwise required for any specific species, underground parts like roots and rhizomes should be collected only after the seed shedding. It also facilitates regeneration of species.
  3. Where taproot is the desired produce and needs to be uprooted, harm to other plant species in the vicinity should be minimized. Underground parts should be collected with minimum possible digging by using appropriate tools.
  • When roots of species that are propagated vegetatively in nature are collected, enough underground part should be left at site to allow regeneration.
  • It must be ensured that underground parts are thoroughly washed and thereafter dried to reduce the moisture content before packing the produce

Annual herbs/ Whole plants

  1. When collecting whole herbaceous plant, or its aerial parts, the harvesting should be done at flower bud or flowering stage but prior to any visual decline in any of the plant parts.
  2. Whole population in a given area should never be harvested. Adequate population should be left in nature for regeneration to facilitate future collections.
  • Use of mathematical procedures including computer software to estimate collection of individuals from a population may be resorted when target area is large to ensure even harvesting throughout the habitat.
  1. Annuals, especially small herbs, creepers, grasses are more prone to contamination as well as cross-contamination. It is easier to sort the annuals immediately after the collection rather than after drying.
  2. Aromatic plants and delicate parts like pistils or stamens of the other plants should not be dried in direct sunlight. If these are collected in wet conditions, they should be shifted to the shade as soon as the external moisture has been removed.

Stem Bark

  1. Stem bark should not be harvested when the tree is under new growth (like spring season)
  2. As far as possible, the bark should be collected from mature branches of the trees leaving the main trunk intact. Bark from entire branch or trunk should not be taken at one time.
  • Girdling of trees or branches by removing the bark all the way around should not be done, unless the tree is to be felled for other purposes like, timber. Bark should be stripped longitudinally (partially along the length of the stem) to allow smooth conduction of water and nutrients.
  1. Stem bark should not be collected again from same tree unless adequate time has been allowed for it to be reformed completely. It should not be collected from immature trees or branches
  2. The rhytidome (outer dead bark) should be removed except where it is the usable part of the produce. The bark should be split in pieces of appropriate size to ensure complete drying
  3. Unless otherwise required in specific cases, barks should be dried in direct sunlight

Stem or wood

  1. Only select mature branches of a tree or shrub should be harvested at a time. The branches from the same plant should not be harvested every year. Where the trunk is used as medicinal produce, the main axis should be harvested.
  2. The produce should be cut in smaller pieces to facilitate faster drying, packaging and storage of the produce. In case of wood, the material can be made into small chips or shavings to facilitate drying and packaging.
  • Unless otherwise required in specific cases, stems and woods should be dried in direct sunlight.


  1. The leaves of herbaceous plants should be collected before their flowering, unless otherwise specified. As far as possible, leaves should be collected from mature trees. Where bio-active contents in the leaves do not fluctuate with age, the collection could be extended to later stage also.
  2. The source plant should not be ripped off the leaves completely. Certain percentage of leaves should be left to ensure normal physiological processes of the plant.
  • Trees, shrubs or their branches should not be chopped to facilitate the collection of otherwise inaccessible leaves.
  1. Tender leaves should not be harvested unless they constitute the officially recognized produce. Leaves turned pale, those infected, deficient and unhealthy should be discarded.
  2. Generally leaves should not be dried in direct sunlight, unless they have external moisture, in which case they may initially be dried in direct sunlight for some time and be shifted to shade or indirect sunlight as soon as the external moisture wiped dry. The produce should be turned periodically while drying to facilitate faster and even drying.
  3. Packing of the leaves should be done after ensuring the complete drying. Even a small amount of moisture present in some leaves, may invite fungal contamination and spoilage of whole lot.
  • Leaf material rich in essential oil must be handled carefully to avoid bruising of the leaves that could result in loss of essential oil or its degradation.
  • The leaves should be harvested during the season when growth and leaf production is the highest.
  1. When environmental conditions are stressful for the plants leaf harvesting should be postponed or should be harvested in less quantity.
  2. If the leaf size is decreasing the rate of harvest should be lowered as it indicates stressful condition.
  3. If the plant size in a population appears to be decreasing, even if vegetative sprouting is increasing (i.e. the population is becoming dense), the rate of harvest should be lowered.
  • The rate of harvest should be decreased if there is heavy pressure from grazing, fire or other incidents that may negatively affect the plants.

Flower and floral parts

  1. Flowers must be harvested (or if specified, flowering tops) when they have just opened or shortly afterwards to capture its aroma.
  2. The flower buds must be collected before the buds open and in early morning hours. In this case the departure of insects must be encouraged by shaking the materials.
  • The flowers rich in essential oils must be handled carefully to prevent bruising that could result in essential oil degradation.
  1. All the flowers from perennials like shrubs, trees and climbers should not be harvested completely. Similarly, flowers from a complete population of annual plants should not be collected at a time. Enough flowers must be left over the plants to allow the natural process of pollination, fertilization, fruit/seed formation and dispersal.
  2. Floral parts like stigma, anthers, petals etc should be collected at appropriate time of their maturity to ensure the availability of desired active substance.
  3. The delicate flowers and floral parts should not be dried in direct sun light. Flowers that are fleshy (like Madhuca indica) may be initially dried in sun to get rid of surface moisture and shifted to shade or indirect sunlight afterward.
  • Medicinal plant produce consisting of flowers and floral parts should be packed in moisture resistant well-protected containers, away from direct sun light.

Fruits and seeds

  1. Fruits and seeds should be collected only on maturity unless immature ones constitute the medicinal produce (e.g. Emblica officinalis, Aegle marmelos) except the fruit of family Apiaceae that dehisce on drying should also be collected before maturation .
  2. In case of shrubs and trees, all the fruits from individual plant should not be collected at a time leaving behind a few healthy ones for further multiplication of the species. Similarly, the whole population of annuals should not be ripped offall the fruits and seeds at a time.
  • Trees, shrubs or their branches should not be cut for ease of collection of fruits and seeds
  1. Immature, infected and deformed fruits should be separated and discarded appropriately
  2. If the medicinal plant produce consists of fresh fruits (e.g. Phyllanthus emblica) the same should be transported to cold storage or pulping units immediately after harvesting.
  3. Wherever required, seeds should be removed completely from the fruit rind before they are traded
  • As per the need of the produce, fruits may be split or cut into small pieces to facilitate drying and packaging
  • Complete drying of fruits should be ensured before they are packed. Randoml selected individuals fruits should be dissected to ensure that there is no inherent moisture left.

Gums and resins

  1. Collectors/collection managers should ensure minimum harm to the mother plant while collecting the exudates. Only a few small longitudinal incisions should be made to collect the exudates and the exposed parts should be treated appropriately to avoid any fungal or bacterial infestation after the exudates has been collected.
  2. Incisions, too close to the ground, easily approachable by the cattle and wild animals, should be avoided. The collection container should be designed in a way to prevent rain, bird droppings and any other such possible contaminations.
  • Where there is a likelihood of some foreign matter being mixed with the collect gums and resins, it should be carefully removed.
  1. Source tree or shrub should be allowed appropriate recovery period before collecting the exudates again from them
  2. Most of the gums and resins, being inflammable, should be packed in appropriate containers and stored at isolated places. The containers of resins like Damar (Shorea robusta) and Saral (Pinus longifolia) should be labeled as “Inflammable Material”, while on transit and storage.
  3. No fire should be ignited near the base of the tree to increase gum/resin flow.
  • Younger trees should not be tapped. The girth of the trees has to be decided below which tapping of gum/resin will not be allowed.
  • Flow of gum is more in hot weather. Therefore, tapping in such species, should be done between June-October.
  1. Long sharp cut blazes are best as they give pure resin/gum and the bark heals faster. Irregular cuts add impurities to the resin. Long cuts are better as they provide more area for exudation and heal faster. Square and round cuts take longer time to heal as the distance between the two walls is more.
  2. Sharp knives or chisels can be used to make blazes.
  3. Instead of letting the gum or resin solidify on the bark, it is better to fix a collection trough e.g. coconut shell, hollow bamboo etc.
  • On the same tree more than one blaze is made, these should be staggered for optimum exudation. After 3 years of tapping, sufficient rest should be given to the tree to rejuvenate from the injury.

Others (Galls, Lac etc.)

  1. Galls should be collected only from stipulated species (Karkatshringi from Pistacia intergerrima.).
  2. Collectors must ensure that no live insects are present inside the galls Post harvest management of galls should be done at an isolated place and the content should be packed and stored appropriately so as to avoid possible infestation of other produce
  3. Weather conditions for collection:
  4. Harvesting should be done under right weather condition.
  5. When harvesting in wet conditions becomes inevitable, provisions to dry the water content as soon as possible from the produce should be arranged.
  6. To avoid dew, avoided collection during early hours. Collection should not be done during early hours to avoid dew, unless it is a specific need for any produce (e.g. floral parts like stigmas and anthers are better harvested under dew).
  7. Harvesting should not be done during rain, mist or exceptionally high humid conditions, as this would encourage fungal attack.
  8. The field collection protocol related to species should make a specific reference on a need basis, to ideal weather conditions for collection. When such a reference is made in the protocol, appropriate records related to the weather conditions prevailing on the date of collection should be maintained at the site.
  9. Sorting of produce:
  10. The medicinal plant produce should be sorted out from any immature or over matured produce, which may downgrade the overall quality of the collected lot.
  11. Where trading of different grades of produce is in vogue, grading should also be done in accordance with established parameters. The basis of such grade wise sorting should be defined objectively (e.g. diameter of roots, size or weight of the fruit etc.)
  12. Foreign matter:
  13. Care should be taken to avoid any accidental mixing of foreign matter with medicinal plant produce such as soil particles, organic matters like leaves, stems, wood pieces or food articles being inadvertently mixed. Collectors should be vigilant to avoid mixing and cross-contamination with other medicinal plant produce being harvested or processed simultaneously.
  14. Procedure should exist to avoid any accidental mixing with soil particles, organic matters like leaves, stems, wood pieces or food articles during the harvesting and post harvest management. Also to avoid any mixing and cross-contamination with other medicinal plant produce being harvested or processed simultaneously.
  15. Mixing of Toxic weeds:
  16. Care should be taken to ensure that while harvesting, no toxic weeds growing in close vicinity get mixed with medicinal plant produce.
  17. Collectors should know the phenotype of such weeds.

Environmental Considerations

  1. Conservation status of species:
  2. Regulators (e.g. forest and wild life field officials) and the collectors should be aware of the current conservation status of the desired plant species.
  3. The RET status of the plant species in the respective areas should be available and any existing regulation applicable in the area of collection to conserve such species should be adhered to.
  4. Sensitive species:
  5. Collection managers should be aware of endemic plant species available in the areas of collection.
  6. The managers must adhere to the existing legal and ecological prescriptions to ensure that the species is not subjected to an increased threat.
  7. Distribution of species:
  8. Quantity of collection of any plant species in proportion to the distribution of the species in the area of collection.
  9. Collection of a species should only be done from areas where its frequency of occurrence is sustainable.
  10. Regeneration of species:
  11. Medicinal plant species should be harvested within the limits of their capacity for regeneration. For sustainability, certain percentage of medicinal plant population should be left so as to allow the natural regeneration.
  12. The population size to be left may vary from species to species, depending on the habit and intrinsic regenerative capability of the species.
  13. This information should also be available.
  14. Frequency of collection:
  15. Enough gaps should be left irrespective of the demand of any medicinal plant produce, in its collection cycle to synchronize with the regeneration cycle of the plant species or the produce.
  16. Enough gaps should be given for the plant to recoup the harvested parts.
  17. Data on regeneration cycle and collection cycle should be available.
  18. Minimizing the harm to source plant:
  19. While collecting the desired plant parts such as leaves, fruits, flowers, seeds etc. efforts should be made to minimize harm to the plant from which these parts are being harvested.
  20. Cutting the branches to ease collection of its bearings (fruits, leaves, flowers etc.) should not be attempted.
  21. Guidelines should exist to minimize damage to source plant.


  1. Habitat management:
  2. While harvesting, collectors should ensure minimum damage to habitat of the species to ensure sustainability.
  3. Guidelines should exist to minimize damage to habitat of species especially where roots or other underground parts are to be harvested which result in uprooting of the associated specie of no interest to collectors.
  4. Care should be taken that climbers and twiners while harvested cause least disturbance to associated plant species. Certain species only occur inspecialized habitats (e.g. Acorus calamus in waterlogged areas or Bergenia ciliata Bergenia ligulata on rock crevices).

Social Considerations:

  1. Local use of the species:
  2. The organized collection of medicinal plant produce from the wild should not affect the bonafide rights and availability of species for use by local people.
  3. Local people enjoy certain bonafide rights over the wild resources for food, fodder, fuel wood, medicines, wild craft, agricultural implements etc. under the regulations. Further, local healers in India collect medicinal plant produce for use as raw materials for their medicinal recipes from forests.
  4. The organized collection of medicinal plant produce from the wild should not affect the availability of species for use by local people. (ISSC-MAP Criterion 4.1: Traditional use, access rights, and cultural heritage)
  5. Equity
  6. The collectors of medicinal plant produce should get returns commensurate with their efforts. Provisions should be laid down for a fair price mechanism for all the species that are harvested in the area.
  7. There should be a mechanism evolved for a fair and equitable benefit sharing that are adhered to by all the stakeholders of medicinal plant produce as provided for in “The Biological Diversity Act, 2002”.
  8. Cultural Considerations:
  9. The harvest and the post-harvest management of medicinal plant produce should be carried out in accordance with ethical codes and norms of local community and the region in which the activities take place and Due respect given to these values.
  10. Some plant species like Tulsi (Ocimum spp.), Doorba (Cynodon dactylon), Bael (Aegle marmelos), Peepal (Ficus religiosa), Mango (Mangifera indica) Maduka (Madhca indica)etc. are attaché with social and religious values. Local people may not allow these species to be harvested. Due respect should be given to such values during harvesting and post harvest management of medicinal plant produce.


  2. Cleaning
  3. Timely and right processing of medicinal plant produce after it has been harvested should takes place to preserve the quality and enhanced shelf life of the produce.
  4. Soil attached to the harvested produce should be washed with potable water.
  5. After preprocessing of scrapping, peeling or brushing, the produce should be washed with potable water before drying.
  6. Sorting
  7. Unrelated material stuck with the produce should be  removed.
  8. Any organic or inorganic matter stuck to any part of the mother plant that does not constitute official medicinal plant produce should be cleaned and removed.
  9. The harvested produce which is morphologically thick, fleshy or the harvested produce which is morphologically thick, fleshy or of bigger size should be cut or sliced into small/ thin pieces to ensure proper drying of the produce.
  10. The produce should be cut into smaller pieces in a manner that enhances the drying while retaining the visual appearance of the produce.
  11. Drying
  12. The medicinal plant produce should be properly dried before packing for shipping or storage.
  13. Medicinal plant produce when in wet condition requiring drying in shade, may be dried initially under sunlight to get rid of external moisture, before being transferred to shade.
  14. The optimum moisture content of medicinal plant produce should be documented.
  15. Where the delicate plant parts and aromatic parts constitute the produce, they should be dried only under shade.
  16. In case of open sun or air-drying, the medicinal plant produce should be spread out in a thin layer.
  17. The plant produce should be dried on either on drying frame or on sheet of cloth or tarpaulin and not on the ground.
  18. The produce should be stirred up or turned upside down at frequent intervals to allow even and complete drying and should be protected from rain.
  19. During drying cycles (sun drying or shade drying), care should be taken to move the materials into covered / partially covered spaces during evening hours?
  20. The produce during drying cycle should move under the covered space during evening hours. This practice prevents undesirable exposure to night fog, dew, unforeseen night drizzles etc.
  21. When artificial means of drying like oven or hot air used, the standardized procedure should be followed. The procedures must be standardized and validated for their overall effect on the quality before introduction at field level.
  22. The temperature range and time duration in such drying should be recorded and documented.
  24. Packaging
  25. The storage containers of medicinal plant produce should provide protection from heat, humidity and temperature and should not contaminate the produce.
  26. Each category of produce requires specific packaging needs.
  27. Under no circumstances, used bags for food articles, construction articles such as cement, sand or that of fertilizers or other chemicals should be used for packing medicinal produce.
  28. Woody in nature ( roots, stem, wood, woody bark etc) – Gunny Bags, Jute Bags, Woven Sacks
  29. Annual whole herbs, creepers, twiners, leaves, etc – Woven sacks with low density liner, Jute bags
  • Fleshy materials(fleshy rhizomes (e.g. Shatavari), fruit rinds (Kokum butter) of flowers (Mahua))- Jute bags with high gauge polyethylene liners ;  Woven sacks with high gauge polyethylene liners.
  1. Delicate flowers and floral parts (Anthers, Stigma, Petals etc; corrugated box with polyethylene liners Card-board box with woven sacks.
  2. Gums and resins Air-tight Plastic drums; Corrugated box with polyethylene liners
  3. Aromatic plant produces- Air tight High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) Containers; Fiber board drums with polyethylene liners.
  4. Compaction /bale packing should be done while handling material in bulk (like Shankhapushpi, Bhringaraj, Bhumyamlaki etc) by using, manually/ mechanically operated compactors. Bale packing helps the communities in minimizing the storage area requirement and also reduce transportation cost. Compactors should be used where volume of produce is high.
  5. Each container of medicinal plant produce should be labeled properly. The label should contain all the required information of medicinal plant produce.
  6. Name of the produce–
  7. Grade, if any–
  • Quantity–
  1. Date of receipt (from Collector)–
  2. Month of collection–
  3. Collected from–
  • Signature of the Store Manager with date–
  1. Storage
  2. Medicinal plant produce should be stored in a dedicated storehouse, constructed in such a way as to avoid entry of pest, birds and other animals and should be free from dampness, dirt and dust .Medicinal plant produce should never be stored in open areas and in or near cattle sheds and storage area should be free from pests.
  3. The storehouse should have provision for keeping approved, rejected and untested lots separately with appropriate signboards.
  4. Sealed and labeled containers/ packages of medicinal plant produce should be kept in cool and dry place and on wooden pallets. Never stack the containers/ packages, especially gunny bags, jute bags, woven sacks, corrugated box etc. directly on the floor.
  5. The storage management-receipt, storage and issue/dispatch- should properly follow.
  6. Dedicated areas for each species should be clearly earmarked and enough space should be left between two species and different parts of same species to ensure smooth movement of persons and machine and to avoid any cross-contamination.
  7. Containers of two or more medicinal plant produces should never be stacked one above the other.
  8. Each lot should contain month of collection on its label and FIFO (First in first out) should be followed for its movement. Month of Collection of each lot of the produce must be marked on its label. The produce should be supplied / consumed on FIFO basis to minimize storage of old stock.
  9. There should be a provision for separate climate (temperature and humidity) controlled facility to store hygroscopic material and volatile material.
  10. Inflammable produce like resins, gum-resins, oils etc. should be stored at isolated place in closed containers.
  12. The measuring equipments calibrated at prescribed schedules and calibration certificates / records should be maintained. Calibration schedule should be available and calibration record in line with the schedule from the weights and measures department or from an accredited calibration agency.
  13. Equipment used for digging, cutting, sorting, peeling and any other activity should be suitable and made of nontoxic material.
  14. The equipment used for digging, cutting, sorting, peeling must be made of a non-toxic material and should be maintained in proper working condition. Equipment that pose a risk of metallic contamination of the harvested crop should be avoided
  15. Equipment and tools, especially that come in contact with the produce should be clean and free from any potential contaminant like paint, lubricant etc., and should be maintained in proper working condition to avoid cross contamination. A maintenance cleaning schedule of equipment and tools used should be followed to ensure that parts of the equipment coming in direct contact with the produce, are clean and free from any potential contaminant like paint, lubricant etc.
  16. Tools that are used for activities like cutting, shearing, spilling or peeling must be thoroughly cleaned after use to avoid cross-contamination with the remaining residues.
  18. Identification
  19. Packages/containers should be legibly labeled with product name, plant part, month and year of harvest and the name of collection centre.
  20. Each pack must be legibly marked with details following trade practices/legal requirements. Guidelines given in Annex D
  21. Traceability
  22. The plant produces should be traceable to collection center from where it has been grown. A documented identification and traceability system allows the produce to be traced back to the collection center and area from where harvested and tracked forward to the immediate customer. Harvest information must link a batch to the harvesting records
  23. Documentation
  24. The basic information about the plant species, area of collection, and time of collection, regulatory information etc., should be captured.
  25. Document containing information, to trace its identity, history, habitat, time of collection, grade etc should be available.
    1. Name of Produce and grade, if any:
    2. Plant Source:
  • Part used:
  1. Quantity harvested: (Dried produce)
  2. Collected by:
  3. How was the produce dried:
  • Collected from (give name of region/ forest/ community land, along with village, Taluka, District and State):
  • Period during which the produce was collected:
  1. Moisture content at the time of packaging:
  2. Does the species need prior permission to collect from wild:
  3. Name of the authority who has given the permission:
  • Phenological state of the plant when collection of produce was undertaken:
  • Any other information on produce:
  1. All processes/events affecting quality of produce should be maintained?
  2. All records of processes or events such as extreme conditions (e.g. drought) during the harvest time that affect the quality of the produce should be maintained.
  3. Documents on different agreements should be maintained.
  4. All agreements between collectors (e.g. co-operative society, village Panchayat etc.) with traders and manufacturers should be available.
  5. Records of drying conditions and temperature range for artificial drying should be maintained.
  6. Documents of all permissions taken from authorities should be maintained.
  7. Proper records of permission/ permits from authorities taken for harvesting, processing or storage of plant produce, proper records of such permits should be maintained. These should be kept in safe custody and should be available for verification by regulators, traders and manufactures and certification agencies.

Training and capacity building:

  1. Training on (i) medicinal plants in general, (ii) good collection procedure, and (iii) hygiene procedure to be followed  should be imparted to the collectors for ensuring the quality collection produce without any negative impact on the environment.
  2. Provision should be made to train the collectors and maintaining records. The training should include identification of species and their produce, understanding of phenological stages of plant, broad internal (e.g. heart wood and sap wood) and external structures (e.g. rhytidome) along with some appreciation of natural processes like pollination, regeneration etc, which occur in nature.
  3. Collectors should be aware of environmental impact of harvest of medicinal plant produce.
  4. Collectors should be made aware of various situations of collections, which can be detrimental to the habitat and environment. They should be instructed on all the issues related to protection of environment and conservation of plant species.


  2. Risk assessments
  3. The collectors should have a written risk assessment for safe and healthy working conditions.
  4. The written risk assessment can be a generic one but it must be appropriate for conditions including risk from wild The risk assessment must be reviewed and updated when changes in the geographical area.
  5. The collectors should have a written health, safety and hygiene policy and procedures. The health, safety and hygiene policy must at least include the points identified in the risk assessment. This could include accident and emergency procedures, hygiene procedures, dealing with any identified risks in the working situation, etc..
  6. The health status of collectors should be assessed. Persons having allergies to natural ingredients such as pollens, plant exudates, and aromas should avoid collection from the wild. Those with open wounds, inflammations and skin infections should keep away from the areas, where primary processing is taking place.
  7. Training on health and safety
  8. The collectors and staff should received adequate health and safety training and should be instructed according to the risk assessment.
  9. Collectors can demonstrate competency in responsibilities and tasks through visual observation. If at time of inspection there are no activities, there must be evidence of instructions.
  10. There should always an appropriate number of persons (at least one person) trained in first aid present on each collection centre whenever collection activities are being carried out.
  11. Hazards and First Aid
  12. Accident and emergency procedures should exist; should be visually displayed and communicated to all persons associated with the collection activities.
  13. Permanent accident handling procedures must be clearly displayed in accessible and visible location(s).
  14. These instructions should be available in the predominant language. The procedures must identify the following: – Collection center address – contact person(s) – An up-to-date list of relevant phone numbers (police, ambulance, hospital, access to emergency health care. – Location of fire extinguisher in the go down and office. – How to report accidents or incidents.
  15. Potential hazards should be clearly identified by warning signs and should be placed where appropriate.
  16. Permanent and legible signs must indicate potential hazards. Warning signs must be present in local language.
  17. Protective Clothing/Equipment
  18. Collectors should be provided with suitable protective clothing in accordance with legal requirements and/or label instructions or as authorized by a competent authority? Collectors should wear appropriate personal protective equipments like safety shoes, gloves, and eye & nose protection while collecting produce from wild habitats which enable label instructions and/or legal requirements and/or requirements as authorized by a competent authority to be complied with are available, used and in a good state of repair.
  20. All records requested during the external inspection should be accessible and kept for a minimum period of time of two years, unless a longer requirement is stated in specific control points.
  21. Collection centers should keep up to date records for a minimum of two years from the date of first inspection, unless legally required to do so for a longer period.
  22. The manager should take responsibility to undertake a minimum of one internal self-assessment per year against the requirements of this standard. There is documentary evidence that internal self-assessment under responsibility of the producer has been carried out and are recorded annually.
  23. Effective corrective actions should be taken as a result of non-conformances detected during the internal self-assessment.
  24. Effective corrective actions should be documented and have been implemented.


  1. Very informative regarding GFCP, it will be useful for Dravyaguna faculties to practice and to teach the Ayurvedic community… Thank you so much sir


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