As firms search for futuristic alternatives to antibiotics and other additives, an Indian animal health healthcare business finds solutions that trace back thousands of years.
Founded in 1992 by Dabur India, one of that country’s biggest ayurvedic medicine and consumer products manufacturer, Ayurvet markets natural herbs to promote animal health, and has entered into the animal nutrition business with value-added feed products.
Its chief executive says these natural ingredients might be ancient, but the science that describes their benefits is entirely modern.
“For almost three decades, we have been focusing on traditional knowledge and modern research,” Dr Anup Kalra told FeedNavigator.
"Today Ayurvet has more than 650 scientific published reports, of which 40% of which were done abroad, and the rest were done in India.”
Its product lines seek to replace chemicals and pharmaceutical additives with natural ingredients that show similar benefits through clinical research. These cater for a wide range of purposes, from formulations that promise results equivalent to those of antibiotic growth promoters, to anti-stress, anti-mastitis and anti-diarrheal lines for cattle, poultry, pigs and other species.
Delhi-based Ayurvet exports to almost 20 countries and totals up sales of around US$50m per year, Dr Kalra said.
Controlling the supply chain
Controlling the supply chain is central to the company’s business model as it harvests herbs from the length and breadth of India.
“We use natural herbs, which we cultivate. These include ashwagandha, tulsi, kalmegh, mangifera. These are some of the more important ones, but what is more important than naming the herbs is their consistent quality,” he said.
“These come through our own cultivation fields. We train the farmers to cultivate the herbs, do the buy-back and process the herbs. It’s very important that we control the supply chain.”
Ayurvet’s customers range from prescribers to farmers and feed mills. In growing overseas markets, Ayurveda is not immediately regarded as a bleeding-edge scientific practice. The company’s clinical research helps give customers confidence—and Ayurvet more sales, said Dr Kalra.
“This is the science of nature. You must look at all our results through the prism of science to understand the benefits. The studies have been highly encouraging,” the chief executive said.