Aloe Vera Farming, Marketing & Profit in India

Aloe Vera is one of the few plants which is easy to grow and has high returns. Its use in medicine encourages farmers to cultivate the plant as the demand for aloe vera is continuous. 

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65% of aloevera is cultivated in the USA. India and China have a share of 10% each in the market for aloe vera. Farmers are encouraged to cultivate aloe vera commercially. Very few farms have been able to tap into the aloe vera farming business though the profits are extremely huge and the investment is nominal. The resources needed to cultivate and farm aloe-vera is negligible when compared to most other crops. 

Nutrient requirements are minimal and aloe vera plants can take moderate sunshine, though a full sun could lead to yellowing of the leaves. Aloe Vera tolerates rains and humid weather as long as there is no water logging. Care for the plants are minimal too. Propagation through seeds does not yield good results and vegetative propagation is often preferred. The plant does flower and fruit once a year and usually during the months of october to february.

Soil and Climatic Conditions

When planting Aloe vera go for sandy soil. Sandy loam soil is good but clay is not preferred. For commercial cultivation of aloe vera it is suggested that you add organic matter to the soil at 8-10 tonnes of Farm Yard manure per hectare. Farm yard manure helps loosen up the soil and help retain water. Ensure that the area is not water logged. Water logging is one of the primary reasons for disease in Aloe vera plants. Aloe vera tolerates good sunlight and humid weather. Areas with high rainfall is not good for the plant. You may get moderate yields from places with good rainfall if you have a good drainage system in place to prevent water logging. High rainfall will create problems for the plant and continuous rainfall will affect the plants growth and health. As far as heat is concerned, Aloe vera plants can usually tolerate a bit of high weather as long as there is sufficient irrigation. Drip irrigation is the best to prevent water logging. Aloe vera plants can tolerate heat but not too much water.

Aloe Vera Pests and diseases 

There aren’t much pests which affect aloe vera.  Most disease occur due to high watering and moist soil, resulting in fungal growth and root rot. This can be avoided by watering the aloe vera plants sparingly. Keeping the soil dry and only watering it when the water depletes to below 3 inches of the soil can prevent fungal growth and at times remedy it too. Other pests and diseases include

Common Names of Aloe vera 

HindiGhritkumari
MarathiKhorpad / Khorapada
KannadaLolisara
MalayalamKumari / Kattarvazha
TamilKatralai
TeluguKalabanda
BengaliGhrtaKumari

Understanding The economics and marketing of Aloe Vera

Its important to know a few facts before you start farming aloe vera. Failure to understand and act on these few  prerequisites is a formula to failure. So read this carefully.

  1. Know your market : You need to understand the market thoroughly. Know if you have other aloe vera cultivators in your area. Get to know them and find out where they sell the product. Aloe vera is not a product you can sell in a market or mandi. These products are acquired by companies and only they will buy them.
  2. Find local companies who source aloe vera : Big companies like baidyanath, dabur and patanjali do require aloe vera. The purchases are continuous and the requirement will last for a long time. But there are producers who can deliver to these companies from nearby area. Transportation of the product is much lesser which make the cost of the product low. Farmers do get a bit of benefit with the price and they are guaranteed purchases. If you live in a place which does not have at least one big company which can purchase your product, you should not attempt to cultivate aloe vera. You will have no place to sell it. Selling it to a company which is in another state or which would require a 1000 Km journey is not recommended. It adds cost to transportation and the costs are usually , in some way incurred by the farmers.
  3. Fine more than one company to buy your harvest. Aloe vera harvest will start from the 8th month of planting. But your first and foremost job is to find at least 3 prospective buyers. 2 is good enough but 3 is better . If you have 10 then its really good. Remember that most farmers will not have time to find prospective buyers. There are agents and contract farmers who will do a lot of the work for you. This does come with a small cost, in the form of commission to these agents. The good thing about agents is that it will take away all the PR work you would have to handle. The agents usually work tirelessly to ensure your product is sold as their commission depends on the sale itself.
  4. Contact experts : Most people are willing to work with you and help you with no expectations. You can call up a farmer today in another state and ask for help on how to sell, where to sell etc. there is a lot of demand for aloe vera and they will not feel threatened to share information with you. You can get farmer contacts and A list of all companies near you that will require aloe vera. 
  5. Research : Fail to plan and plan to fail. Before starting with aloe vera farming ensure that you do a detailed study. Don’t go by all the high profits with aloe vera farms on youtube and other websites. Some of them are true but failures are not marketed. So if you think it’s all good, you are in for some rude surprises. Find every small company near you who uses or acquires aloe vera. These may be small Juice companies, Local brands of creams and moisturizers. Don’t be shy to talk.We are farmers but it’s time to go a level higher and become businessmen and women. 

Help From the Government to sell Aloe vera.

Every state has its own departments to help farmers. Help could range from providing free seeds, subsidy and even marketing your products. Most farmers are not aware of the process and some are not even aware of the services the government provides. Its not easy to understand most of the government procedures and formalities but its important that we as farmers take the time to get acquainted with them. The horticulture board will surely be able to help you or point towards where you can market your product when it comes to aloe vera. 

Contact information for Horticulture boards in various states can be acquire on the TNAU Website at https://agritech.tnau.ac.in/horticulture/schemes_first.pdf (page 21)

For kerala the details are as below.

Aromatics and Medicinal Plants Research Station, Odakkali 0484-2659881/ 2658221 

STATE HORTICULTURE MISSION, KERALA, Sunny Dale, Mead’s Lane, University PO., Thiruvananthapuram. Ph:0471 2330856 / 2330867 (3)TBGRI, Palode 0472 2869246

Cutting Costs and reducing risks when farming Aloe vera. 

Its important to understand that cutting costs is important when farming. Every single opportunity to cut costs and increase revenue should be considered. Subsidies, Better price on saplings and seeds and reducing labour are all key to better profit. Choosing the right plot for cultivating aloe vera is also important consideration. Opt for land area which is easy to cultivate Aloe-vera and preferably where you cannot grow any other crops. If you intend to grow another crop at some point of time in a year or two, avoid the plot. Start small. One hectare is good to start with. Do not start with 20 hectares of land. Starting small reduces risk and once you are comfortable with the process of cultivation , harvesting and selling your produce, scale up based on how comfortable you feel. Most farmers go from 1 hectare to 5 and 5 to 20 in a matter of 3-4 years. Its also one of the most sensible processes when farming for crops like aloe vera.

National Medicinal Plants Subsidy for Aloe Vera is currently at 30%. For more information visit 

https://www.nmpb.nic.in/sites/default/files/cultivation/Species_for_30_subsidy.pdf

Where to find Prospective Buyers with Phone numbers for Aloe vera

May it be local or international aloe vera buyers, you will find information on prospective buyers in a range of websites. From youtube comments to dedicated websites listing people’s details who are interested in procuring your produce is now online and easy to access for free. All it takes is a bit of time and effort and of course , a bit of skills. One of the few websites which lists buyers of aloe vera from all over the world (including india) is https://www.go4worldbusiness.com/. Search for Aloe vera and you will have a list of all the people who are looking for aloe vera , the prices they are willing to pay and other details. Contact them right away, before you start planting and check out the requirements. What plant are they looking for and what quality and quantity they expect. Most of the time, all you need is a company name. Searching for the company name on google will result in the phone number and contact information of the company. When possible, avoid individuals with just the names. These are usually spammers or agents.

Contract farming and Guaranteed buy back of Aloe vera farmers

The state and central government are speeding up with contract farming and encouraging farmers to embrace the modes of contract farming facilities. Contract farming guarantees that your produce is sold as long as it meets the requirements of quality set in an agreement. The agreement is usually signed by the buyer and the seller and also a 3rd party to ensure that the sale is  adhered to. While there have been a lot of concerns regarding some contract farmers selling seedlings to the farmers for a cost but refusing to buy the produce once harvested , these cases can be prevented if you take the approach recommended by the government. The government of Gujarat has an agricultural marketing board which helps people with contract farming at https://gsamb.gujarat.gov.in/contract-farming.htm#contractfarming You may be able to find similar services from the government in your state. Information is usually available at the Horticulture unit of the state. 

Aloe Vera Profits Per acre

While there are a lot of websites online which will show you an inflated price and increased profit, the truth is that Aloe vera farming is not as profitable as it seems. The cost for one kilo of leaf ranges from 6 -9 rupees. You would be lucky if you touch 9 rupees per kilo even if your product is 100% organic. The cost of labour is minimal when it comes to aloe vera farming but choosing the right farm land is key. Area which is already rich in weeds will require de-weeding more often than you think. Weeding adds to the extra cost. Land preparation is minimal and there is no need for a lot of irrigation. If you are in an area with rich rain fall, chances are these ares are also rich in weeds. With more water also comes more maintenance and pest which will require some form of pesticides or chemicals to control. All this could add up to the cost very quickly. An average aloe vera plantation will most likely make 15,000 Rs per acre to 30,000 Per acre if you cut costs in some way. Do not expect to earn millions in Aloe vera farming as most of the people would lead you to believe. A small chart is as below.

Year 1Year2Year 3
Plants Per acre4000
Cost per sapling3
Total Cost of seedling12000
FYM Cost150001500015000
Fertilizer Costs150001500015000
Cost for irrigation150001500015000
Land Preperation7500050005000
Labour & Miscleaneous costs500050005000
Weeding (Twice the first 2 months and once every month there forward)1000005000050000
Total Expenditure237000105000105000
Avergage Yield15 Tonne20 tonne20 tonne
Profit / Loss-1470001500015000