By Dr. Anish Desai
There has been a significant increase in awareness of preventive healthcare, especially during the pandemic proving the nutraceuticals sector to be a strong economic partner. The severity of pandemic may have dropped, but nutraceuticals continue to be preferred. The second wave too has seen that the nutraceutical sector has built and will continue to grow its presence in the market.
The AYUSH market currently stands at a whopping 10 billion USD and is projected to see an impressive 50% increase over the course of the next five years. Having no FDI limits, this sector has massive potential for exponential growth, especially in times of public health crises.
With a strong base of ancient Ayurveda and significant use of ayurvedic medicines, India is poised to be a global leader and is projected to see an impressive 50% increase over the course of the next five years.
Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) came into force on November 9, 2014.
On December 4, 2020, the decision to set up AEPC (Ayush Export Promotion Council) was taken in a joint review by Ayush Minister Shripad Naik and Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. The Ministry of AYUSH, and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry decided to work collectively for setting up Ayush Export Promotion Council (AEPC) to support Ayush exports.
In a statement, Ayush Minister said that commerce and trade in the Ayush sector are needed to upscale rapidly to meet the ever-growing demands from India and abroad as well as AYUSH sector aims to work together to achieve price and quality competitiveness to boost AYUSH exports.
Increase in the budget of AYUSH along with a focus on product and process standardization has strengthened this idea. Several companies have aligned products to AYUSH and their success has proved that medical practices in India is a tried and tested concept.
India is the world’s second largest exporter of Ayurveda and alternative medicine in the world and is continually promoting its export interests. India’s strong ancient knowledge on AYUSH and well-developed supply chain network will help export market to grow due to an increase in demand from international markets.
India’s major AYUSH export partners include UAE, Russia, USA, Japan and more many more nations that are diversified across continents. India has a strong grip on Asia Pacific market which is expected to rise exponentially over the next 5 years. In addition to this, Latin American and African markets are expected to see significant growth which should be looked as areas of opportunity for both Indian AYUSH conglomerates and potential FDI (foreign direct investment) firms.
Ministry of Ayush has paved the way for strengthening the quality of Ayurvedic and other Indian Traditional Medicine products globally and also enhance export potential, especially to the US Market. This has been achieved by the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine & Homoeopathy (PCIM&H) and American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, USA.
Ministry of Ayush has entered this MoU with the specific purpose of strengthening, promoting, and developing standards in the field of Ayurveda and other Indian traditional systems of medicine between the two countries based on equality and mutual benefit.
The collaboration of efforts will go a long way in enhancing the export potential of the ASU&H (Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homeopathy) drugs. Under this MoU, there will be the constitution of a Joint Committee to develop the action plan along with timelines for the development of monographs and other activities for cooperation in the field of traditional medicine.
While the sector has shown strong export performance with the AYUSH pharmaceutical sector being the flag bearer of the flourishing trade surplus, the attractiveness of the sector lies in fact that the trade potential is largely underutilised. Strengthening of domestic standards subscriptions, ensuring traceability of the value chain, and formulating global standards with international standard bodies are some measures that may be required for confidence in brand AYUSH globally.
India currently utilizes less than 40 per cent of its total export potential of US$2.2 billion in herbal plants and extracts sector. AYUSH industry in India offers tremendous potential for exports. The estimated export potential for the herbal plants and extracts sector is US$ 2.2 billion.
However, the actual utilization of this potential is much less at present. Current exports of US$ 830 million account for less than 40 per cent of the estimated potential in the sector. Since AYUSH firms in India are catching up fast in terms of product development and value addition, the rest unrealized potential can be suitably harnessed. Foreign trade policy should provide proper incentives to the firms for active participation at global level. Moreover, growing R&D by firms would support maintaining competitiveness in the herbal plants and extract sector.
Unprecedented global emergencies such as the COVID-19 pandemic have long lasting effects on almost all sectors of the economy. There is a huge area of opportunity especially in a post-COVID world where people are exploring alternative home remedies that will prevent them from having to resort to allopathic care. Though waves of COVID 19 have made the world realise importance of immunity and healthcare through alternative medicines, COVID 19 is not the only factor to contribute to the growth of AYUSH products.
Factors supporting growth of global market of Ayurveda:
• Ayurveda is one of the oldest systems of medicine which has gained people’s trust over centuries of usage
• Ayurveda and nutraceuticals are a perfect blend of ancient and modern approaches
• India now has Well-developed systems of Education of AYUSH, regulation, medical services and manufacturing infrastructure. India also has a large population of skilled man power.
• Ministry of AYUSH has Proactive International Cooperation policies set up including those with WHO. There has been a significant and growing adoption of Ayurveda in countries like USA, UAE, Russia, Japan and many more destinations ensuring stability internationally.
Needless to say, many more Indians / start ups should explore this ocean of opportunities and contribute to further growth.
(The author is Founder & CEO, IntelliMed Healthcare Solutions. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult health experts and medical professionals before starting any therapy or medication. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the Financial Express Online.)