Climate issues compound botanical supply chain issues

“The [botanical] the supply chain problem in China has escalated,” Sam Zhang of Huisong Pharmaceuticals told NutraIngredients-USA at the recent Expo West show in Anaheim, California. “There are far fewer young people willing to work on farms for cultivation and fewer young people willing to do manual labor for processing and sorting. This, combined with inflation and rising energy costs in China, has made the supply chain issue much more difficult.

Zheng added that a number of herbs reported price increases this year, including ginseng, blueberry, stevia leaf and quercetin.

A Chinese herb like Rehmannia, due to natural disasters and speculation, prices have increased fivefold. Another Chinese medicinal herb is forsythia, and this one, because of climate change, frost kills the flowers in the spring, so there is less fruiting, and therefore less yield.

Tarun Prajapati of Cultivator Natural Products Pvt. ltd. expressed similar concerns from India.

“We have all been through the COVID situation,” he said. “And the worst situation was encountered by the supply chain because the transit time was talking about two months, three months, four months, and sometimes you never know… So each company must have its own storage system .”

Prajapati added that the impact of climate change, due to increased floods or droughts, is putting increased pressure on many plants.

“This year amla fruit harvest is only 50% due to climate change,”he said.

“There are a lot of products that are getting really bad because of climate change issues, so we are thinking about how to make them more sustainable. We plot how we can do [grow] the same medicinal plants in different geographical conditions so that the whole supply chain is not further affected”, he said. “So if one place experiences a drought, another part can feed the supply chain continues.”

Teresa H. Sadler