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Profitable Medicinal Herbs: Farmers Are Earning Rs. 3 Lakhs Per Acre, Know Which Herbs Is More Lucrative?

Know how these farmers are earning in lakhs by cultivating medicinal herbs & which herb is the most lucrative one?

M Kanika
Cultivate These Profitable Medicinal Herbs To Earn In Lakhs
Cultivate These Profitable Medicinal Herbs To Earn In Lakhs

Here's a happy Indian agricultural story that's not widely known. A tiny group of farmers are earning as much as Rs 3 lakh per acre, led by strong and fast expanding industry demand, a figure that is put into perspective when you consider that wheat and rice farming pay less than Rs 30,000 per acre. 

The main ingredients of this farm earnings boom are herbs and aromatic plants used in ayurvedic medicines and personal care products – sold by companies like Dabur, Himalaya, Natural Remedies, and Patanjali.

Many of the herbs have unusual names, and the numbers are all impressive. Ateesh, kuth, kutki, karanja, kapikachhu, shankhapushpi, these herbs and aromatic plants may be unfamiliar to city consumers, yet they can provide life-changing revenue for certain farmers.

Industry Estimates for Herbal Products Rs 50,000 Crore

According to industry estimates, the herbal products market is worth Rs 50,000 crore and is increasing at a 15% annual rate. Herb and aromatic plant acreage is still small — 6.34 lakh hectares out of a total agricultural area of 1,058.1 lakh hectares — but it is rising at a rate of 10% per year, according to government data. 

The returns to farmers are even more remarkable. In the higher parts of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, a farmer farming the ateesh herb, which is widely used in ayurvedic treatment, might easily earn Rs2.5-3 lakh per acre. A lavender grower can expect to earn Rs1.2-1.5 lakh per acre.

Farmer From Jammu & Kashmir Turned His Plot of Maize to Lavender

These are the reasons why Bharat Bhushan of Khellani village in the Doda area of Jammu and Kashmir turned his 2-acre plot from maize to lavender. "I first planted the crop in 2000, and the returns are four times what I used to get from maize," he says. Lavender flowers are gathered and processed into oil, dried flowers, and other added-value products. 

Vidya Karan, a 2-acre farmer in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur area, has a multi-herb portfolio that includes ateesh, which costs Rs 2.5-3 lakh per acre, rattan jot, which costs Rs 1.15 lakh per acre, and karu, which costs Rs 1.5-2 lakh per acre. 

In Barmer, Rajasthan, Dabur collaborates with farmers to develop therapeutic plants such as shankhapushpi. Companies that purchase these herbs and aromatic plants are also optimistic. "Due to a supply shortfall, several high-value herbs like ateesh, kuth, and kutki are currently more profitable," says Amit Agarwal, director of Natural Remedies.

He claims that planting herbs can earn a farmer Rs 60,000 per acre on average if demand is guaranteed. Natural Remedies claims to be contracting herb farming on a 1,043-acre plot of land.

Kutki, Shatavari & Chirayata Are Currently More Profitable  

According to Patanjali's CEO, Acharya Balkrishna, the company "assists farmers in cultivating herbs on 40,000 acres." Kutki, shatavari, and chirayata are among his highest-earning plants. And, he claims, India has a lot of room to grow this business because it is far behind China in terms of production and there is strong global and domestic demand. 

Lavender and aromatic plants like rosemary, geranium, and clary sage have been promoted by the Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine in Jammu. "Demand for oils from these plants is coming from domestic perfumery and cosmetics companies," says Ram Vishwakarma, IIIM's director. 

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