With growing awareness about benefits of neem as a natural pesticide, the estimated Rs 100 crore neem-based pesticide market in the country is growing by 7-9 per cent annually, says a report by Export Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank).
Azadirachtin, an active compound derived from neem seeds and other parts has natural insecticidal properties. It is potentially a substitute for synthetic pesticides used in crop production.
The bank, in its report, said projected growth in global bio-pesticide market at CAGR of 15.8 per cent from 2012 to 2017 could be a prospective growth driver for the neem products in future.
The global bio-pesticide market valued at USD 1.3 billion in 2011, is expected to reach USD 3.2 billion by 2017, growing at CAGR of 15.8 per cent from 2012 to 2017, says a bi-monthly publication of EXIM Bank.
This could be a prospective growth driver for neem products in future, it added.
Europe is expected to be the fastest growing market in the near future owing to the stringent regulation for pesticides and increasing demand for organic products, the report said.
"Neem based products exports by India in 2012 stood at USD 5.73 million, including neem seeds (2.79 per cent of total exports of neem products by value)," EXIM Bank Chief General Manager Prahalathan Iyer said.
USA and Italy are the leading importers of neem extracts from India. With USD 2.62 million imports in 2011-12, USA was the largest importer of neem extracts from India, according to the report.
Japan was the largest importer of neem oil cakes from India, valued at USD 0.28 million in 2011-12, and Spain the largest importer of neem seeds from India, it said. According to the estimates of Neem Foundation (a voluntary, independent and non-profit organisation), there are about 20 million neem trees in India, stated the EXIM Bank report.
As per industry estimates, neem bears 3.5 million tonnes of kernels every year, and from this, around 7 lakh tonnes of neem oil can be obtained.
There is immense potential of neem based products in India, which can be tapped if the medicinal plant, as part of agro-forestry and Integrated Rural Development Program (IRDP), is popularised and its value added products are rolled out through village industries, says the Bank report.
However, total neem oil produced in India is about 2.5 lakh tonnes, which is only 30 per cent of the total potential, the report said, indicating the scope for optimising yield.
Native to India and Burma, neem, according to the report of Ad Hoc panel of Board on Science and Technology for International Development National Research Council (1992), has been planted in many parts of Asia, Africa and few other parts of the world.
However, over 60 per cent of the entire neem population is found in India.
Indian farmers have traditionally used de-oiled neem cake as a fertiliser in their fields.
In India, bio-pesticides represent only 4.2 per cent of the overall pesticide market which is expected to exhibit an impressive annual growth rate of around 10 per cent in the coming years, says Iyer.
Neem-based pesticides, bacillus thuringiensis, nuclear polyhedrosis virus and trichoderma are some of the major bio-pesticides produced and used in India.