The research and development and its backward integration along with the forward networking is essential in a true herbal, plant extract and the ocean resources to the third dimension of remuneration to the farmer is very critical. The supply chain in any system be it be herbal, be it be plant extract must have a core emphasis in ensuring and sustaining regional capacity including transportation cost which need to take the material to processing and value addition. Therefore the art of procurement, the art of growing and distribution of herbals along with good herbal practices and good agricultural practices following the phytosanitary regulations including that of drying and extraction of bioactives becomes very vital in the newly emerging regulatory world. However, we also need to link the farmers to the market ahead of time and we need to use the advantage of future markets too. Another important factor is the value addition at the cottage scale, village scale and the small scale industries which will ultimately integrate and cascade into larger industries in the herbal chain.
The latest adoption of technologies and a critical environmental balance is very vital in this area so as not to boost the cost to higher levels. The knowledge-based scientist, the entrepreneur, the doctor or engineer today need to integrate themselves with a common goal of a safe herbal product. There is a role for everybody. This is a great opportunity and perhaps one of the key factors is the optimum value addition of the primary source. Major processing steps which involve proper way of harvesting, storing, cleaning, grading, drying and proper packaging at the farm level may reduce losses to a great extent and also for a safe herbal chain as it travels forward. If these are not given top priority perhaps the future markets for India in herbals is hazy. However, it is not difficult to implement this but perhaps more difficult to sustain it and India today is looking at organic herbals all the way to no heavy metals, no toxins and no chemical contaminants along with hygienic herbals. We may want to treat them like tea gardens and grow them in large areas as a commercial venture.
The differentiation between Genotype and Phenotype in the role of food and diet in the area of herbals would draw markets very differently especially after primary processing in value addition. It may not have a clear definition of pathway and claims but it will be available in bulk for value addition at a higher levels. This can give more money to the farmer and could avoid multilayer problems at the ground level. The variety of herbals that we grow may mean a lot to the globe and it is important to select the best business variety suited to India’s climate as well as to agricultural market but must again be emphasised that the cost has to be cut down. This can be done by minimising the waste during harvesting, grading, drying, bulk packing and transportation.
Therefore such a delicate raw material ultimately need to be handled very carefully from an economic point of view on the one hand and ensuring a sustainable long term strategic research on the other hand. It is in this area along with the reformation of the policies that addresses in management of herbal food safety in the area of Nutraceuticals and Ayurceuticals that shall make a difference. Tomorrow’s nutraceutical industry with its relevance to Ayurceutical bulk market on the one hand and speciality markets of molecular excipients and extracts and Bioactives on the other hand shall dominate the market. The consumer would be much more informed person as he approaches the products. Therefore an integrated approach in the herbal sector certainly is the need of the day to capitalise the booming economy of the nation as it has a potential unlimited and Nu way of thinking with innovation can create those NuFFooDS which can create wealth and give a healthy nation.