Essential oils; a growing business dimension to the natural products business fraternity is not something vary famous in India even today. People are unaware of the the product and its usage. Today also, whatever extraction and plantation happens for these kind of medicinal and aromatic plants and products, happens in an unorganized sector only. Essential oil plantation, a lucrative business for farmers has not got its pace with time.
India one of the tropical countries; which is blessed by nature with more than 18,000 native species of aromatic and medicinal plants out of which some what around 1300 species contain aroma can be the industry leader if this industry decides to follow scientific measures and methods for propagation. There are hefty of rich natural, exotic plants in India which can be cultivated and used from the wild availability adding much more commercial value to the industry rather than there social value. New exotic fragrances are always in need and there is a chance to cultivate these aromatic plants to suffice the need always in India given its climatic and weather condition. Although consumer perception has changed within these years and fragrance and cosmetic usage has gone up, however the need for natural oils is not fulfilling. So, there is always a scope for these businesses to grow up in these conditions. Demand is high, supply has been always less. To fill the gap, Indian subcontinent can be a blessing if this industry decides to go on mass and systematic cultivation of these plants. I believe, Indian essential oil manufacturing industry can bring high Forex reserves to the country if their approach is systematic and scientific.
Though there are various reasons for getting into the business, there are also various constraints. Such as:
- Fast changing climatic condition
- Yield varies season to season
- Availability varies
- No Technical knowledge
- Price Fluctuation
- Unpredictable price
- As industry is not organized, cultivators and harvesters not always get true share of value in the process due to lack of knowledge and that is demotivating.
- No or poor indigenous, holistic research programs to support the industry
- Non-sustainable value chain
Some reasons like these are always an entry barrier for new entrants to the industry. But, I am sure, with proper guidance and use of technology, these problems can be solved and when the availability grows up, most of these barriers can be overlooked. Certain conditions like fast changing climatic condition needs a collective approach and it is very prevalent in certain parts of the country. We can always find seasonal crops for these areas which can be cultivated on rotation basis.
Ladder to Success
Essential oils or derivatives from aromatic plants are nonnarcotic and mostly do not posses in side effect, and this propels the demand of these products world-wide. If this industry in India adapts scientific genetic management to conserve aromatic plants and endangered species that would slowly propagate the availability. Agronomic research in these fields will fuel newer ideas to plant and harvest. Government with private players should plan extensive studies. Tissue culture is another format which can also propagate species which are not easily available to plant through seeds. Laboratory analysis is utmost required to keep check on soil conditions soil additives to be used.
Efforts to liaison with global and domestic companies, development of quality planting material, encouraging commercial plantation, value addition to harvesters share, stakeholder engagement for trade policies will surely take this industry to top level in India. India where more than 65% population is under the age of 35 years can grab this opportunity to stand as a world leader. This industry can also contribute to government’s Make in India campaign majorly. Ancient India was world leader in perfumes and fragrances, let us pledge to go back to that level once again.