Growing and Market Value of Licorice
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Leighton Karawana
Posted on: October 15, 2007

I am wanting to know three questions regarding licorice.

1. What is the current market value of licorice in todays market for:

a) Plant,

b) root,

c) liquid form and

d) powder form. per kg/per ton

2. What is required in a processing plant for licorice? I.e., costs, machinery and skills.

3. Is growing and selling licorice a viable business to get into?

I have never grown licorice root, as it mostly wants to be grown around lakes and semi-irrigated fields (wet). It is currently grown in most Provinces of Canada, and around the Great Lakes in North America. There are also a few fields in upstate New York, but most of it is now imported, as many of the original domestic sources have changed to other crops.

There are several variations and species of Licorice Root now sold in the worlds markets. They include Glycyrrhiza glabra L. var. typical Reg. et Herd.), also known as Spanish Licorice. Persian Licorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra L. var. violacea Boiss.) Russian Licorice is Glycyrrhiza glabra L. var. gladulifera Waldst. et Kit. And, the Chinese Licorice is Glycyrrhiza uralensis Fisch.

Only the root is sold. These are my "best guess" prices (world farm-gate). To actually pin it down, I would have to make some long distance calls to NY. So, what I did was key off of several known buyers, and what they currently sell it for in 2,000-lb quantities. You can buy the root from India much cheaper than these prices, by the way...

Dried root is $2.80/lb., FOB

Fresh root is $6.00/lb., FOB

Organic root is $3.85/lb., FOB

Fresh root Oil is $12.00/lb., FOB

The World Market is now estimated to be around 218,000 acres. This includes all species and variations. Domestic productions are up now to 26,000 acres, mostly Spanish and little Persian. There is a current surplus, as Canadian overproductions have drop prices a few points. However, the demand continues to grow with new products.

I should emphasize that this crop will be difficult to be competitive, especially with China and India being the primary producers for the world. While China has a bad reputation right now, "cheap" is always the active word with this crop. Pakistan, Israel, and a host of other producers make this specific crop difficult, unless you live around the Great Lakes region of North America.

I should think of a number of root crops far better yields for effort in, and bucks out. Why not consider dandelion root and chicory root, for an herbal coffee substitute. Same land, same habitat, and same machinery, only far better possibilities, especially if you set up a roaster and cottage industry around them. Even valerian root would offer better markets.

This forum is not the scope of your questions. I would happy to put a business plan together for you. You can find out more about that by visiting my website at

http://www.nwbotanicals.org/oak/oakservice.htm

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