Indus grows exclusive herbs like vanilla, coleus forskohlii, amla, sarphagandha, safed musli and stevia in its farms and also provides consultation for all herbs and spices, apart from retailing.
Indus Herbs was founded by Mr.Ravindra TC and Mr. Prashanth in 2002. The company is headquartered in Lalbagh Road, Bangalore. Indus grows exclusive herbs like vanilla, coleusforskohlii, amla, sarphagandha, safed musli and stevia in its farms and also provides consultation for all herbs and spices, apart from retailing. “It was my dream to startth is farm. I am basically from a farming background. My father is an agriculturist,” avers Mr. Ravindra. “Our main objective behind setting up this farm was to promote the cultivation, consultancy, and marketing of medicinal and aromatic plants globally. We use the latest scientific techniques to grow high quality herbs,” he adds.
List of Products & Services
Indus has one of its farms in Kanakpura Road, Bangalore and the other farm in Shimoga district in Karnataka. “We are cultivating and promoting herbs like coleus, stevia, vanilla etc. We are growing all of them. Our main business is procuring the herbal raw material from all over India as per our clients’ requirement,” says Mr. Ravindra. “We are not growing all the herbs by ourselves. Moreover we are also not producing sufficient quantity to meet their entire requirement.
So we have to procure the raw material from all over India. Till date we did not have any contract farming arrangement but will be starting from this year onwards,” he adds. According to Mr. Ravindra, out of all the products, coleus forkohli is the fastest selling variety of herb. “Coleus Forskohlli, belonging to the family lamiaceae, is one of the most potential medicinal crops of the future, as its pharmacopeias properties have been discovered only recently. The tuberous roots are found to be a rich source of forskolin, which is being developed as a drug for hypertension, glaucoma, asthma, congestive heart failure and certain types of cancer,” he explains, adding, “It is cultivated in parts of Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in an area of about2500 acres.”
The other herbs, the farm produces, have several other applications and medicinal properties as the following:• Vanilla has the highest demand abroad for its use primarily in the food and beverages industry as a flavouring agent, besides other applications.• Amla or Indian gooseberry is a highly valued material for ayurvedic preparations in view of its excellent natural Vitamin-C content.• Sarphagandha’s roots are used as medicine for snake bite, schizophrenia and epile preparations. It is used as an agent forreducing high blood pressure, and also as asedative, anti-hypertensive and antispasmodic.• Safed Musli is a traditional medicinal plant. Its tuberous roots are mainly used in ayurvedic medicines. Roots are used for the preparation of nutritive tonic used in general sexual weakness.• Stevia is likely to become the major source of high potency sweeteners for the growing natural food market in the years to come. It finds its use as a natural sweetener, replacing the chemical sweeteners and even table sugar.
[hidepost] Difficulties Faced
Speaking about the various hurdles and difficulties encountered in developing the business, Mr. Ravindra says, “We face a lot of problems in procuring the herbs. If the farmer does not properly process these herbs then there is a chance of fungus formation, specially while sending perishables like live plants, there are chances of damage being caused,” adding, “Marketing the end product is also not that easy as the awareness for such products is low.”
When asked about the size of production of different herbs, Mr. Ravindra says, “We are not growing herbs in a very big scale. This year we have taken more lands near Bangalore, so we are planning to expand. Our clients are pharma companies all over India.” He adds, “We are mainly supplying to pharma companies and export companies like Sami and Falcon.”Mr. Ravindra maintains that the company also exports herbs. “We export in very small quantity to Malaysia. We have also received enquiry for Germany and France,” says Mr.Ravindra. “We will probably export more this year,” he adds.
Talking about the specific advantages Indus products enjoy over similar products offered by its competitors in the market, Mr. Ravindra says, “We are mainly into selling herbal raw material and live plants. Our price is very competitive in the market.”
Awareness in Market
Mr. Ravindra feels the awareness regarding the benefits of the use of herbal products in the Indian market has started but it still has a long way to go before the markets grow to the standard of international markets. “But definitely there exist very good opportunity in this field,” he says, adding, “Although herbal products and their uses have originated from India but Indians are still lacking in awareness while western countries are showing more interest, which is very difficult to understand.
Another reason could be the high prices and lack of knowledge.” He further goes on to say, “The government should take positive steps to accelerate the development of the Indian herb industry by providing subsidies for cultivation of herbal gardens.” Applauding the efforts made by the Medicinal Plant Board, he says, “The board is giving30% subsidies for cultivation of herbs, and also for setting up extraction units. They are also doing awareness programmes to spread awareness about herbal products among the masses.”
When asked about the future plansof Indus Herbs, Mr. Ravindra says, “We will be concentrating on more exportorders as there is not much demand in theIndian market.” Mr. Ravindra is a graduatewith more than 3 years of work experience.He finally adds, “We are the bulk supplier ofherbs, herbal raw materials, extracts andspices also. We also supply nursery plantsat very low price. The biggest order that wegot amounted to 20 tonnes. We have asizeable number of dedicated clientele. Ourcustomers come back to us because of thequality of our products and our service,which is also our focus.” He further says,”To get good result, proper variety selection,good agricultural practice and organic farmingis very important. So we are giving completeconsultancy on these aforesaid factors andalso on potential market identification to helpour clients. We also advice on current trendand future projection.”