Indian neem has great potential for commercialisation, says expert

Mumbai: The Indian neem can emerge as the biggest money-spinner in the booming alternate therapy market, if the country framed policies and encouraged its use in public health programmes, a top official of the Neem Foundation said.

According to Pramila Thakkar, managing trustee of the Mumbai-based Neem Foundation, the government should provide extensive promotion and techno-commercial backup for neem, on the lines of support being offered in Japan by the ministry of international trade (MITI) there.

To be able to sell the concept gloabally India should first achieve significant benefits from neem research, she said, adding, there was a clamour for environmentally safe products and neem fitted the bill perfectly.

Like the tea tree of Australia, Gingko Biloba of China, Ginseng of Korea, Guarana of the Amazon and Aloe Vera of Mexico Indian neem can become a big player in the alternative health programme, she felt.

For this, appropriate utilisation of neem, through village-based enterprises as also development of state-of-the-art technologies was needed, she said.

"Just as the world''s finest chocolates are associated with Switzerland, premium coffee with Brazil, excellent champagne with France and fine whisky with Scotland, the best neem products should be associated with India - that is our aim," Pramila said.

The foundation has planned to increase the number of neem trees in the country from two crore to 10 crore in 10 years, she added.