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New farm laws will boost nutraceutical sector: Industry executives

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The new farm laws will go a long way to boost the country’s nutraceutical sector, said industry executives.

India has a mere 2-3% share of the $400 billion global markets compared to China’s 14% because of a lack of standard guidelines and protocols, they said, even as it is endowed with resources such as marigold, turmeric, ginger, chillies and paprika, from which medicines are made.

Sanjaya Mariwala, president of the Association of Herbal and Nutraceuticals Manufacturers of India, told ET, “The farm bills are aimed at strengthening FPOs (farmer producer organisations), making the sector more organised, leveraging technology and making it available at the ground level, and encouraging biodiversity conservation will help the nutraceutical industry that is growing at a rate of 15% annually at the global level.”

Rapidly changing lifestyles, with people becoming more conscious of their nutrition, increasing preference for preventive care and steep hospitalisation costs have led to a growth in demand for nutraceuticals products.

The nutraceutical industry has three distinct categories – raw materials, ingredients and formulations. Traditionally, raw materials dominated India’s strength in the nutraceuticals market. However, gradually ingredients and formulations segments are also growing, thus creating a potential for strong growth in the domestic market and also robust exports.

Given the country’s natural advantages such as climatic conditions, soil quality and agriculture focus, India has a huge potential to become the global hub for raw materials and ingredients supply.

“Yet, certain limitations like contradicting regulations, lack of focus by both industry and government, and non-conducive taxation and research and development environment impede the sector, resulting in competing countries like China taking the lead,” said Mariwala, executive chairman at OmniActive Health Technologies.

There are many natural herbs and plants and flowers that are rich in medicinal properties. India is an important supplier of curcumin from turmeric, ginger, chillies or piperine from black pepper and paprika. It is the dominant supplier of such plant materials and ranks among the top three producers in the world.

“Widening the options to sell will help establish the FPO model more firmly and will allow FPOs to expand their horizon which will ultimately benefit farmers, leading the sector towards becoming more organised,” said Mariwala.

The new farm laws allow farmers to collaborate for contract farming with nutraceutical product manufacturers. They will also enable complete traceability of the products, paving the way to an increase in India’s share in the international markets.

With increasing contract farming, manufacturers will support the farmers with all technological advancements and that will create a win-win situation across the value chain, said Mariwala. “At a broader level, this will be a great driver for agri tech entrepreneurs and startups too,” he said.

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