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| Growing Stevia Commercially |
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Kirsten
Posted on: January 05, 2011
Hi there, I am looking for info on growing stevia commercially. We are moving to northwest Argentina, near Salta City. Rainfall 38 inches per year. Good soil, irrigation and rainy summer season about 80 degrees. Wondering how to find market, growing and harvesting tips, potential $ return. We are looking for the right high profit crop and think stevia may be in demand.
I think stevia would be an excellent crop, with a new and growing demand for its use in soft drinks. Your farm conditions all suggest this to be one of the better choices for mints.
Marketing today is far simpler than it was 20 years ago. Now, you can find almost anything you need in the way of marketing tools. While stevia is a new market, it is also growing far faster than any other traditional crop choices.
With diabetes being the single most serious ailment today, a certified organic sugar substitute will be most welcome for almost all manufacturers. I should stress the importance of diversification, as most of the markets wane and flow.
Also, having a cottage industry at the farm level is also a better form of marketing, where your product use is vertically integrated into something "more." Most farm projects are about labour, and it is always wise to "add value" to your products prior to them leaving the farm.
One cottage industry use would be an "herbal coffee substitute," where it is used with licorice mint, dandelion and chicory root. You even have a vanilla bean which can grow in your part of the world, to sharpen the "cupping body" (flavor) for competitive marketing.