The total world herbal trade is currently assessed at USD120 billion. The Minister of State of Commerce and Industry, C. R. Chaudhary, claimed India’s share in the global export of herbs and herbal products is low due to the following reasons:
- Inadequate agricultural practices.
- Inadequate quality control procedure.
- Lack of large scale organic cultivation; processing and R&D; standardisation in products, processes and services; and a regulatory framework in trade of medicinal plants.
However, in his statement, Chaudhary states that the export of Indian herbs and value-added extracts of medicinal herbs has increased over the years.
India’s herbal exports in 2018
India exported USD 330.18 million worth of herbs during 2017-18 with a growth rate of 14.22% over the previous year. The export of value-added extracts of medicinal herbs/herbal products grew to USD 456.12 million in the same time period. This is a growth of 12.23% over the previous year.
This growth is from demand for herbal and value added extracts of medicinal herbs from countries in Europe.
Export Promotion Councils
In order to promote India’s exports, the Government has taken several measures:
The Department of Commerce has set up various Export Promotion Councils (EPC) for promoting exports of various product groups.
Shellac & Forest Products Export Promotion Council (SHEFEXIL), headquartered in Kolkata, will promote herbs and medicinal plants of India.
Under the Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme of the Department of Commerce, the EPCs are provided financial assistance for participating and organising Trade Fairs, Buyer Seller Meets (BSMs), Reverse Buyer Seller Meets (RBSMs), Research & Product Development and Market Studies.
The Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) provides incentives to the exporting community to offset infrastructural inefficiencies and the associated costs of exporting Indian products.
Special emphasis is on products that generate employment and enhance India’s competitiveness in the world market.
The International Cooperation Scheme of Ayush Ministry provides financial assistance to exporters for the participation in Trade Fairs; organising International Business Meets; and product registration reimbursements.
The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB), Ministry of AYUSH, government of India has launched a “Voluntary Certification Scheme for Medicinal Plants Produce (VCSMPP)” on 22nd November, 2017 in order to encourage the Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) and Good Field Collection Practices (GFCPs) in medicinal plants.
The VCSMPP will enhance the availability of the certified-quality-medicinal plants in the country and boost their export. This will also increase India’s share in the global export of herbs.
Ministry of Ayush, through its Quality Certification programme like Ayush mark and Premium mark, is also assisting the industry in setting up quality standards.
Ministry of Ayush has entered into MoUs with a few countries to promote traditional medicine which will help exports in the long run.