Export Potential of Indian Mint Oil Industry
Foreign Trade Review, 2000, vol. 35, issue 2-3, 42-55
Cultivation of mint crop has recently been introduced in India. India has adequate agricultural resources for production of mint oil but it is still confined to only some parts of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, due to lack of education about the crop and extension work for propagation of this highly commerial and valuable commodity. Its use in the form of flavour and fragrance shows its importance both in the domestic market as well as in the international market. The primary market for mint oil includes soft drink companies, food companies, perfumery companies, cosmetics and pharmaceutical, which are growing at a rate of 18.23 per cent in terms of sales value and 17.93 per cent in terms of market size. Major international markets for mint oil include USA, Japan and Western Europe. India exported to only J2 countries in J988-89 and has explored 25 export markets in 1995-96, which further increased to 36 in 1997-98. The export of mint oil was amounted to Rs 342.83 lakh in 1988-89, which has increased to Rs 9,693.12 lakh in 1997-98, and is expected to be doubled by the year 2009-2010. Contribution of menthol in mint oil export shows that there are bright opportunities for mint oil processing units for value addition on one hand and linkage gains on the other. The annual compound growth rate of mint oil export is 35.33 per cent in terms of quantity and 46.31 per cent in terms of value during 1988-89 - 1997-98. The highest growth rate is recorded in case of Spearmint oil followed by Peppermint and Menthol. India is the net exporter of mint oil and menthol but export trend is highly fluctuating, mainly because of unorganised sector and absence of any export promotion body/board, specially for essential oils. The import of mint oil generally shows stable trend but wide disparity between quantity imported and amount paid can be seen, resulting in higher import prices. The import is about three times costlier than export price realisation. The export price for mint oil was Rs 1.48 lakh per tonne in 1988-89, which has increased to Rs 3.20 lakh in 1997-98, whereas import price for it was Rs 2.72 lakh per tonne in 1988-89, which has increased to Rs 10.01 lakh per tonne in 1997-98. Hence, proper policy framework in this regard is required to check the unnecessary outflow of foreign exchange. Net foreign exchange earning from mint trade was Rs 232.10 lakh in 1988-89 which has increased to Rs 13,566.72 lakh in 1996-97, i.e. an increase of 98.29 per cent and further came down to Rs 9,346.57 lakh in 1997-98. So its contribution is quite significant for the country. This is a new area which needs supportive policy framework for enhancing its production and diversifying its markets by organising this industry in a scientific manner.
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