Q & A
Calendula Production in Brazil
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Pedro Quariguasy
Posted on: November 27, 2003

I’m agricultural engineer. Here in Brazil I produced last year about seven hectares of Calendula officinalis, variety ‘Dania’.

I really need more information about this herb, its production and market. Do you know how can I find this information?

Sincerely I never had opportunity to find a website with so much information about herbs as I find in your company. Congratulations, sincerely congratulations, because we know how it is difficult to talk, and to find specific information on herbs. such as prices and world production.

For example, to know where is the most important production of calendula, and of thyme, and echinacea -- this is my need.

I beginning to work in a company on extracts of vegetables and herbs, and I will be the international buyer.

Anyone acting in the capacity of buyer of herbs should acquire a copy of Max Wichtl’s "Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals". This book is available from Richters at http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=XB5053. This book is expensive but it has critical information that buyers need on such items as quality and the tests used to assess quality. For example, it tells you what tests you can use to prove the identity of calendula samples and it gives quantitative standards used in Europe to assess quality. Some of this information is included in our ProGrowers information that you will find on our website.

According the Wichtl, calendula is cultivated in the Mediterranean countries, the Balkans, eastern Europe, and to a smaller extent in Germany. The main exporting countries are Egypt, Poland and Hungary.

We also know that small amounts are grown in North America, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.

Wichtl’s book does not cover production. Greg Whitten’s book, "The Herbal Harvest" has good production information, including seeding, weed control, harvest, drying and processing. Whitten’s book is available from Richters at http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=XB5060.

There are two other books with information on calendula production. The "Herb and Spice Production Manual" (available from Richters at http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=XB4540) has six pages devoted to calendula production and research, but the information is general and you will need to fill in many of the gaps from other sources or from your own experience. Richard Alan Miller’s "The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop" (also available from Richters at http://www.richters.com/Web_store/web_store.cgi?product=XB6950) has some production information such as yields but not enough to serve as a production guide for the crop.

Getting accurate prices is very difficult because there are so many different levels of trade in the industry. For certified organic calendula delivered to the buyer in quantities of 100 kilograms or more, the price in October 2003 was approximately $4.00 a kilogram (Canadian dollars). You can expect that non-organic calendula will be 10-20% less, and if you are dealing in large container-sized lots the price will be still lower, perhaps by as much as 30-40%.

Wichtl’s book also has critical quantitative and qualitive information on thyme and echinacea.


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