Recent Developments in Herbal and Medicinal Plants Sector with Reference to Trade Essay

1. INTRODUCTION The main occupation of majority of people living in rural India still continues to be agriculture. About 70% of the Indian population, including the rural and the tribal population is sustaining on traditional agricultural practices as a source of livelihood.

Besides growing edible food crops like vegetables, fruits, cereals and pulses, the farmers also grow various types of medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs) which constitute an integral part of traditional home remedies.India is a land to about 17,000 species of higher plants, out of which 7500 are known for their therapeutic uses. Ayurveda, has alone reported approximately 2000 medicinal plant species, followed by Siddha and Unani. The Charak Samhita, an ancient written document with rich literature regarding herbal therapy, production of around 340 herbal drugs and their indigenous uses for curing various ailments and diseases.

Presently, around 25% of herbal preparations are derived from plants materials.The following are the constituents found in herbal preparations: Constituents of Ayurveda and Unani Medicines Herbal 95 % (major) Minerals1-2 % Metals1-2 % Animal Products1-2 % Marine Products1-2 % The market demand around the world for herbal medicine is currently at $ 80 billion and is expected to reach US $ 5 trillion by 2050. Around 80% of the population around the world rely on The annual turnover of three of the major Indian systems of medicine namely Ayurveda, Unani and Sidha is estimated to be more than a billion dollar.The gap between demand and supply is estimated to be 200,000 tons, which is expected to rise to 400,000. Today, one fourth of the world population depends on traditional medicines. The reason behind the enormous growth in demand for Medicinal plants is due to their lesser side effects as compared to the allopathic preparations and the cost factor.

India’s share in medicinal plant export in global trade is very low about 8. 13% as against 28% of China. The reason behind this is the lack of policy support from the government; farmers prefer to grow edible food crops like cereals, pulses.There is vast potential for a country like India which is the home to around 45,000 plant species which is nearly 20% of the global species. If immediate steps are not taken, India will be losing the trade related opportunities to herbal medicine and its raw material. Indian medicinal and herbal products sector appears to be largely disorganized.

What is, therefore, needed is to focus on overall development of herbal industry in India including market prospect, creation of entrepreneurship, promoting investments for sustainable cultivation, processing, storage and quality control.Obviously, there is increasing demand by industries not only of medicinal plants for producing herbal products as essential raw material, & its cultivation, preservation, processing, packaging and transportation. The growing apathy towards products made from chemical (allopathic) products and unsustainably harvested forest products becoming ethically unacceptable consumer goods, have created new markets for quality, certified and organic herbal products.Medicinal plants have the potential to fill these needs as they provide green health alternatives and members of other eco-friendly products of domestic and industrial usage and has entered into the world food and drugs market as the environment friendly. 2.

Market Prospects for Herbal and Medicinal Plants Sector Herbal medicinal market consists of herbal extracts, aloe vera products, volatile oils and other medicinal products of plant origin for internal and external use. Europe and the United States are the two major herbal products markets in the world.India and China are the two major suppliers. The domestic herbal market is estimated at Rs 4,000 crores. The global market size is estimated at US$ 60 billion and is projected to reach US$ 5 trillion by 2050. India’s export : $31. 48 million (2007-08) EXIM Bank data.

The US herbal medicine consumption – $ 17 billion in year 2000. Even if one per cent share of the present global market size is aimed at, the magnitude of export market prospects would grow from the current Rs. 0 billion to approximately Rs. 25 billion, a jump of about 2. 5 times.

In addition, there is expanding domestic market which has been growing at around seven per cent per annum. With the growing demand of medicinal plants and herbal products, investment into this lucrative sector has been also growing. A large number of manufacturers and traders have been investing for cultivation, preservation, processing and formulating various herbal medicines. New entrepreneurs are coming up day by day.Together, they produce and supply a large range of herbal products for use as drugs and for therapeutic applications both for domestic and global markets. 3.

EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITIES RELATED TO HERBAL SECTOR In the recent time, there have been concerns over growing unemployment in the country and emphasise made on investment in labour intensive small enterprises and skill upgradation among the existing workforce and new entrants to the labour arena. The programme obviously creates environment to encourage people to come up with entrepreneurial initiative.Medicinal and aromatic plants play a significant role in the subsistence economy of the people and growing livelihood and trade in the context of changing health sector scenario, the world over. Collection, simple processing and trading of medicinal plants contribute significantly to the cash income of the poor and women in impoverished hills, mountains and rural interiors of India. The medicinal plant resource base sustains million of resource for poor such as landless labourers and tribal people. They are primary producers of the raw material and grass root level market intermediaries.A study carried out by Canadian Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI) India indicated that from a single district of Pithoragarh in Utarakhand State of India, more than 1300 tons of herbs and medicinal plants are collected and traded annually.

There is ample scope to maintain both the rural livelihoods and environmental sustainability with fair trading system of herbal and medicinal plants. In India, cultivation of herbal and medicinal plants is estimated to provide regular productive employment to 10 million tribals related to cultivation of herbal plants but lso for processing, production, training and marketing of herbal medicines and medicinal herbs with thrust on creating and impart necessary knowledge, skills and business profile. Medicinal and aromatic plants play a significant role in the subsistence economy of the people and growing livelihood and trade in the context of changing health sector scenario, the world over.

Collection, simple processing and trading of medicinal plants contribute significantly to the cash income of the poor and women in impoverished hills, mountains and rural interiors of India.The medicinal plant resource base sustains million of resource for poor such as landless labourers and tribal people. They are primary producers of the raw material and grass root level market intermediaries. Global market for herbs & herbal products – 62 billion US$ Expected to grow upto 5 trillion US by the end of 2005 with a growth rat of over 15% annually. India can earn Rs. 5000 crores per year by exports of herbs & herbal products by 2005 with employment generation for 1 crore people.

4. DISTRIBUTION CHANNEL FOR MEDICINAL PLANT GROWERS / COLLECTERSFor local collectors at village level | Local traders (covering large area) | Middlemen traders (covering large areas) | Wholesalers and regional traders | Retailers and industries / Companies | Consumers The rural poor, especially women, collect and dry the wild medicinal plants and transport these raw materials to the local market, local traders or middlemen. They in turn supply these raw materials to the wholesalers, retailers, industries and companies for manufacturing herbal and medicinal preparations for commercial purposes.Majority of medicinal plants can be grown in poor soil and do no require intensive irrigation system thus helps in utilizing the wasteland areas and also proving income opportunities to the farmers as they can be grown in different land-use and cropping systems.

MAPs are being recognized as environment-safe, botanical products into the world food and drug market and emerging as new opportunity for the small-farm community. With the rising demand of medicinal plants and herbal products, investment into this lucrative sector has been growing.A large number of manufacturers and traders have been investing for cultivation, preservation, processing and formulating various herbal medicines. With proper care, Indian herbal medicine sector has the potential to turn out as a billion dollar industry and offering employment opportunities to millions of people. 5. RISING DEMAND AND TRADE OPPORTUNITIES ACROSS THE WORLD Nearly 80% of the world’s population depends on herbal medicine for their primary health care requirements- source WHO. Global trade in medicinal plants is over US$ 60bn in 2004 with an annual growth rate of 15%.

Exports of Ayurvedic medicines have reached a value of USD 100 million a year. Of the total exports, about 60% is crude herbs, 30% finished product shipped abroad for direct sales to consumers, and the remaining 10% is partially prepared products to be finished in the foreign countries. Europe and the United States are the two major herbal products markets in the world. India and China are the two major suppliers India is rapidly emerging as a key player for supplying medicinal plants to the world. Estimated total value of products from Ayurvedic production in India is nearly US$ 1 bn.In addition, the domestic market is expanding at around seven per cent per annum. India has about 8,000 species being used by rural communities.

Out of this, about 880 species are in active trade with 48 being exported and around 42 species being imported. It is estimated that the export earning through this industry can increase to Rs. 10,000 crores by 2010 if proper strategies are adopted for production, processing and marketing of MAPs. The Ayurvedic industry in India is dominated by around 30 companies.

Key suppliers comprise Dabur, Baidyanath, and Zandu, which together contribute about 85% of India’s domestic market. Charak Pharmaceuticals, Vicco Laboratories, Emami Group, Aimil Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Viswakeerthy Ayurvedic Pharmacy etc are among other few of the well-known names in this sector. Of late, leading players in the FMCG segment like the Hindustan Unilever is increasing its focus on Ayurvedic products. Contract farming of medicinal plant species which are in demand in the foreign market is seen as the key growth driver of the domestic herbal industry.In India, there are about 20 well-recognized manufactures of herbal drugs and 140 medium or small-scale manufactures. In addition, thousands of vaidyas have their own miniature manufacturing facilities. About 1200 licensed small manufactures in India are on record. The estimated current annual production of herbal drugs is around Rs.

100 crores. This value is low as compared to the production allopathic pharmaceuticals, which is around Rs. 800 crores. The demand for herbal medicines is increasing and it is estimated that the production of herbal drug may be around Rs. 4000 crores in the year 2010 AD.There are 1650 herbal formulation in Indian market and number of major plants involved in their formulation is 540. Annual export trends in medicinal plants and Ayurvedic products of India over past four financial years (Source: Prahalathan 2004) The projected escalating demand of medicinal plants has led to the over-harvesting of many plants from wild, which has consequently resulted in the loss of their existing populations. For example, the large quantity of Himalayan yew (Taxus baccata) has been gathered from the wild since its extract, taxol, was established as a use in the treatment of ovarian cancer.

The over-exploitation and continuous depletion of medicinal plants have not only affected their supply and loss of genetic diversity, but have seriously affected the livelihoods of indigenous people living in the forest margins. The study, however, said that the major hurdle for cultivating medicinal and aromatic plants as a sustainable agricultural profession was the lack of organized and regulated markets in India. The regulated production on scientific lines, effective enforcement of licensing system and setting up of Export Promotion Zones (EPZ) in select states will push up exports of herbal material and medicines.The states which are major producer of herbal plants having the highest medicinal value include Gujarat, Rajasthan, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Andhra and the Himalayan Range. 6.

EXPORT TRENDS FOR INDIAN HERBS AND MEDICINES There is a continuous growth in the exports of herbs and medicines world wide with USA, Canada, Mexico, UK, Spain, Brazil, Russia , China, UAE, Israel, South Africa,Vietnam , Singapore as the major players. It shows a whooping increase of 250% though still a miniscule comparative to the demands. EXPORT TRENDS FOR NAFTA ( USA, CANADA AND MEXICO)The trend represents a net growth of 12 % for the NAFTA nations ,with Canada on the top having a growth of 68% and USA with 8 % growth in the past decade, showing a scope to penetrate the untamed market still in its jevenile stage .

MIDDLE EAST COUNTRIES EXPORT RATE Midddle -East market majorly includes Israel and UAE with a scope to increse the supply by a capacity 10 times more than the present levels , still showing a whooping increase in the supply of the herbs by 38%, depicting an inclination towards the use of organic products.EXPORT TREND AMONGST MAJOR COMPETITIORS China is the biggest competitor with an age hold history in naturopathy and use of herbal products to cure diseases . With the increase in the demand it emerged as the major competitor to India exporting its own herbs . Others include Russia and Brazil.

The trends represent an optimum growth aligned with the population of the country. 7. RECOMMENDATIONS TO INCREASE INDIA’S CONTRIBUTION IN GLOBAL MARKET OF HERBAL MEDICINES •Need to document indigenous uses of medicinal plants Demand-supply studies •Conducting awareness seminars and workshops at local, regional and state level •Research and Development •Market Analysis and Value addition •Introduction of herbal gardens in schools •Production of quality planting material •Commercial schemes include large scale cultivation •Post-harvest technology studies •Innovative marketing •Implementation of promotional schemes •Incentive schemes to be introduced for cultivation and collection and marketing of herbal and medicinal plants. Organizing training camps for dissemination of technical know-how to the farmers •Establishing office, godowns and acquire means of transport under development of infrastructure scheme.

•Creates environment to encourage people to undertake entrepreneurial initiatives related to herbal sector. •Development of financial institutions with the help of forest department, local institutions, NGO’S, industries, national and international funding agencies. •Setting up of State Medicinal Plant Boards (SMPBs) throughout the country to meet the challenge to increase production and degradation of medicinal plants bio-diversity. Provide training facilities in the villages to generate awareness of medicinal plants, their cultivation, harvesting, drying, storage and marketing.

•Set up data-base system for inventorisation and dissemination of information, develop protocols quality control and encourage the protection of patent rights and other intellectual property rights (IPRs). REFERENCES: 1. Ayurvedic Formulary of India, Government of India Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Indian system of medicine and homeopathy published by the controller of publication, Delhi, 2003 2.Herbal Medicine for Market Potential in India: An Overview Alok Sharma,C. Shanker,Lalit Kumar Tyagi,Mahendra Singh and Ch. V.

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