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India: Demand on the rise for organic, medicinal plants

"As we continue to innovate with hydroponic farming techniques, we're hoping to enter new markets and see superior products coming into play. The push for alternative farming methods is surging as organic and pesticide-free products are becoming increasingly scarce in the country due to external factors that throw a spanner in the works," says Ashish Patel, Senior Agronomist at Konark Future Farms, a part of Konark Group.

Ashish Patel

Based in Gujarat, about 40 kilometers away from Ahmedabad, Western India, the company has a 10-acre commercial farm in which they conduct various R&D trials. Its umbrella company, Konark Group, specializes in health care-, cosmetical-, and fragrance products. As well as water treatment systems, biotechnology, and microbiology.

Initially, Konark Future Farms was set up to grow medicinal plants hydroponically, combining traditional agriculture and aiming to launch a hybrid farming approach that will be adopted in India.

A basket full of specialty plants
Currently, the team is cultivating a diverse range of medicinal plants, including Brahmi, Centella Asiatica, Ashwagandha, Kalmegh, Stevia, Wasabi, Tulsi, Mint, Turmeric, and Ginger. "We turned to these products for their medicinal properties and the ever-so-growing demand for organic, pesticide-free products," says Ashish.

Multiple cultivar setups are used, as most production is based in a 700m2 polyhouse, equipped with automation and sensors allowing Ashish and his team for optimal monitoring. A slight percentage is cultivated in the open air, yet soulless too, "given the quality of the product and to avoid pesticide use."

At this point, about 80% of the production from Konark Future Farms is supplied to its sister company, Konark Herbal and Health Care. The remaining 20% is set off to other clients across the region.

Based on numerous past trials, the Konark team yields 600kg of Brahmi (water hyssop), 750kg of Centella Asiatica, 500kg of Ashwagandha, 500kg of Kalmegh (green chiretta), 7 tons of Turmeric, 1 ton of Black turmeric, 5 tons of Ginger, and 700kg of Black ginger.

"Konark Future Farms' vision extends beyond Gujarat, indicating a possibility of expansion to other regions in the future. Adding new products may also be part of their plans," Ashish shares.

For more information:
Konark Future Farms
Dr. Ashish Patel, Senior Agronomist
+91 990 4978 995
[email protected]