Cultivation of Thyme in India and its market

Thyme is not a popular crop in India. Apart from the fact that it has limitations in where it can be grown, the market is not wide open for thyme as a spice in India. A popular spice in European cuisine, thyme is not a spice used in Indian foods and cuisine. Used as dressing in soups and meat, thyme is considered an exotic spice in India with uses only in a few European cuisines prepared in restaurants. Unfortunately, the import of thyme from European countries is plentiful and dilutes the Indian market with their produce competing with local thyme production. 

Thyme is used as a herb in food and also oil is extracted for various uses. Thyme is known for its medicinal value and is known to be a good herbal supplement for eye health, liver health, and kidney and also acts as a blood purifier. In India though, it is rarely used for its medicinal properties. The thyme cultivated in India is more for personal use and on a very small scale. Thyme is not commercially cultivated at all and the market is hard to find. 

In India Thyme is cultivated in the Himalayan foothills and the Nilgiris. The herb is sold online and offline, packed and fresh. Unfortunately, fresh herbs have a short lifespan and most thyme is dried to fit transportation needs. Fresh thyme can be seen only in a few areas where cultivation is possible. There are a few farmers who have tried to cultivate thyme near Bangalore with little success. Other than that, most cultivation happens in the Nilgiris and the Himalayan region

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There are a few sellers on Indiamart who have a bit of success too. Unfortunately, it’s not possible to find out how many sales happen. The price for thyme ranges from 150 rs to 1500 rs, depending on the quality. Thyme which is cultivated and not wild is known to have higher oil content (up to 2.5%) and fetch a good price as compared to wild thyme which has an oil content of only 0.5%

Thyme Cultivation Tips for Indian Farmers 

When cultivating Thyme, You need to keep in mind a few things that are key to success. First of all, Start small. One patch of thyme should be enough for you to start and get a feel of the market. You will find difficulty selling the produce fresh. You will know how much people buy and if people buy at all. You will get to know people who are willing to purchase the product and for what purpose. You can also make corrections if the variety of thyme you are cultivating is not what is required for the buyer. Starting small also means a lesser loss. Taking a risk with a large plantation of thyme is not recommended.