Potential Echinacea Buyers
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Daniel
Posted on: January 23, 2000

I’ve just found your web site and haven’t been able to read it completely. I’m excited to do so though. I am a pharmacist in Montana interested in starting a Echinacea angustifolia operation. I am considering putting in some Echinacea purpurea at a different location about 10 miles west. I’ve heard that the Echinacea purpura market is somewhat saturated and that it is difficult to find buyers. I was curious to your opinion in this matter and inquire about a list of potential Echinacea buyers.

The two primary buyers in North America are MacAndrew Forbes (NJ) and Wilcox Natural Products (NC). Based on recent conversations with both companies (January 2000), I NOT RECOMMEND cultivating this crop at this time. I guess the first thing that needs to be said is that there is now a surplus of all Echinacea species, and some farms can’t even give it away, at any price.

The problem with E. purpurea is that many of the tobacco growers in Canada cultivated this crop three years ago as an alternative to the subsidized tobacco programs. Tax incentives were offered. This means that in the next two to three years, there will be surpluses of this crop, and the prices will drop below production costs (as current inventories age).

While there is still a light demand for E. angustifolia, prices have already dropped from (U.S.) $32/lb. to less than $12/lb., and tops no longer enjoy any form of marketability There are other pharmaceutical root crops which I could recommend for your habitat. They would include bloodroot, wild indigo, and mandrake.

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