Chemical World
August 11, 2003

Sami Labs eyes Kerala for herbal plantations


Sami Labs Ltd, the Bangalore-based producer and exporter of standardised herbal extracts, fine chemicals and nutraceuticals, has plans for taking up large-scale cultivation of select medicinal plants in Kerala. “Kerala has an equitable climate and hence, most tropical and sub-tropical plants will grow here. Our company would like to encourage the cultivation of these commercial crops in the State,” informed Dr Muhammed Majeed, Chairman and Managing Director, Sami Labs.

“Until now, we concentrated the cultivation in Salem (Yercaud district), around Bangalore, in stretches between Mysore and Coorg, Tirunelveli districts. We already have more than 3,000 acres under contract farming with buyback arrangement for cultivation of select medicinal plants. We also want to set up demonstration-cum-research farms to encourage cultivation of improved varieties of these plants. The wild resources are threatened because excessive collection. This was our major motivation to go in for large-scale cultivation,” Dr Majeed said.

Sami Labs last year set up the country’s first commercial-scale plant based on the carbon dioxide supercritical fluid extraction (SCFE) technology developed by Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay under the Government of India’s ‘Technology Mission programme’. The technology works at atmospheric pressures of more than 300 bars for selective extraction of active compounds from natural products for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical usage. The SCFE technology has special relevance in the context of increasing scrutiny of solvent residues in pharmaceuticals, medical & nutraceuticals and other stricter regulations on various types of emissions. At the Sami Labs’ SCFE facility, we selectively extract the herbs, oils food products, cosmeceuticals and fragrances,” informed Dr Majeed.

Dwelling on the company’s initiatives for contract/third party manufacturing & analysis for the global nutritional industry and scope for Indian companies therein, he stated that contract research would be a very attractive option for India. But, on the other hand, contract manufacturing will provide far less value addition, according to him.” The nutritional supplement industry worldwide is growing. India has a potential to be in the forefront provided we concentrate on value addition. This is the approach Sami Labs has adopted,” informed Dr Majeed.