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| Marketing Safed Musli from India |
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Name Withheld
Posted on: October 06, 2006
With great interest did I read your request about markeing etc of this herb and I hope, for my sake :-)) you received many fruitful answers.
I have been approached by an Indian grower of white musli to market this herb in powder or as dried tubers here in the UK. I have years of experience in importing handicrafts from the Far East but not herbs and for sure this is the first time I heard of this one. If it would be possible to enquire about world market prices... any grading in quality, how much can be harvested per kg... what to look out for... pests, drawbacks, things to watch out for and whatever else I need to know to establish whethe r I am dealing with a reputable company. (I have not visited them.)
Safed musli has been a hot crop in India and was promoted heavily among Indian farmers for about a decade. It seemed to go from crop shortages to oversupply in a short time. Now farmers are searching for new ways to market the crop. Prices no doubt have fallen and some farmers are facing losses. The banks in India which were once eager to lend money for safed musli ventures are now backing off -- they know that the economics of the crop has changed.
Being that the market is volatile and that we in North America are not close to this crop, I don’t have much information for you based on personal knowledge. But I can provide you with a few snippets of information gathered from a variety of sources.
The Indian farm magazine, Ahimsak Kheti, reported earlier this year that dry safed musli tubers sold for between 175 and 390 Indian rupees per kilogram depending on quality at the Indore market.
As of late 2005, prices for planting stock (tubers used to plant new fields) have been around 500 Indian rupees per kilogram.
The Indian herbal agricultural scientist, Dr. Pankaj Oudhia, wrote last year (http://ecoport.org/ep?SearchType=earticleView&earticleId=751&page=-2) that he visited many safed musli farmers who were worried about the future of the crop but were continuing to replant in the hopes of better prices. Dr. Oudhia thinks that the government should step in to help the farmers who were encouraged even by the government in the past to grow safed musli. He recently published an update on the safed musli situation in Hindi but I cannot read it (http://ecoport.org/ep?SearchType=earticleView&earticleId=958&page=-2); perhaps you can.