Market Price of Ginseng
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Tyler Jacques
Posted: Before April 1998

I am interested in planting a 1/2 acre of ginseng next fall for the first time. The market price for ginseng has dropped dramatically over the past few years due to the increase in production from the large producers. Do you feel the price of ginseng will level off, and if so at what price. This is obviously a concern to first-time growers with their first harvest being 3 to 4 years down the road.

We expect that ginseng prices will drop further. The two largest ginseng companies in Canada, Chai-Na-Ta and Imperial Ginseng, have hundreds of acres of ginseng coming into production in the next few years. According to an article in the February 15 issue of Richters HerbLetter (see the HerbLetter section of the Richters website), investors seem to be optimistic that the price of ginseng is going to be stable. However, both companies reported losses in the past quarter. They are both pinning their hopes for profits on increased sales of value-added products for the North American market. The traditional market, and still the largest market for ginseng, is dried root sales to the Orient. The fact that Chai-Na-Ta and Imperial are now focusing on value-added products suggests to us that the Oriental market is not as limitless as it was once assumed. The thinking had been that the rise in economic fortunes of Chinese consumers would guarantee an expanding market for North American ginseng for years to come.

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