Document Type : Research Paper
Social and Extension Research Department, Sistan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Zabol, Iran
Department of Resource Economics, University of Kharazmi, Tehran, Iran
Agricultural Economics, Payam Noor University, Tehran, Iran
Agronomy and Horticultuer 0Research Department, Sistan Agricultural and Natural Resources Research and Education Center, AREEO, Zabol, Iran
The presence of various medicinal and ornamental plant species in the Sistan and Baluchistan region has turned this region into a paradise for investors in these plants. The relative advantages of this region for medicinal plants include climatic range and diversity, the feasibility of off-season cultivation in open air, abundant and inexpensive labor, and the availability of the ground for the production of safe and organic crops, facility of commercial exchanges and crop export, and having a long and dynamic history in folklore medicine. As well, the profitability of this treasure hidden in the soils of the region has made it imperative to invest in their production. To explore economical combination of medicinal plants based on regional potentials for investment, the present study used the data of research projects on several medicinal plants including Foeniculum vulgare Mill., Matricaria chamomilla L., Cuminum cyminum L., Trachys permum amm L., Nigella sativa L., Platogo cyminum, and the intercropping of bitter melon and watermelon conducted in an area of 1 ha. Data were analyzed by engineering economic techniques and the criteria of the net present value and cost- benefit ratio. The results showed that these plants had cost- benefit ratio of F. vulgare 3.78, M. chamomilla 3.89, C. cyminum 4.6, T. permum amm 4.7, N. sativa 4.7, P. cyminum 5.3, and M. charantia L. & Hibiscus gossypifolius Mill. 2.55, respectively. So, given the yield and the positive sign of this ratio for all studied medicinal plants, the cultivation of all of them is economical and they can contribute to diversifying farming and increasing income. Furthermore, was selected to be the most economical plant with a ratio of 5.37. Also, the results revealed that given the significance of producing medicinal plants in the region, the intercropping Momordica charantia & H. gossypifolius can produce a high yield with a benefit-to-cost ratio of 2.55 and can be effective in employment generation in the region, so this system is economical as its benefit-to-cost ratio is >1 and its net current value is positive. Hence, the medicinal plants have a great potential to be a source of development and productive employment generation in the region if adequate and reliable water is available during their growth periods, they are packaged appropriately and marketed soundly, and they can be processed in industries.