The Hindu
Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Sami Labs to take up coleus farming in Kerala

Thiruvananthapuram: Sami Labs Limited, a Bangalore based transnational health-science company engaged in manufacture of standardised herbal extracts, cosmeceuticals and spice extracts, is planning a foray into Kerala with cultivation of Coleus forskohlii (Ban Tulsi in Hindi) in partnership with cooperatives and farmers' group.

Kollam-born Muhammed Majeed, chairman and managing director of Sami Labs, told The Hindu here that his company is planning cultivation of the special variety of tuber, used in a weight-reduction drug for which Sami Labs holds US patent, in at least 1,500 acres in Kerala in the coming one year.

Currently, Sami Labs is cultivating Coleus in 15,000 acres of land spread over Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. It has entered into buy-back agreements with farmers' groups under which the company would lift their entire produce. Already some 5,00 farmers are involved in coleus cultivation in Salem and neighbouring districts of Tamil Nadu. On the basis of the undertaking given by Sami Labs, the farmers are getting loans from banks. Besides Kerala, coleus cultivation would be taken up in another 15,000 acres of land in Punjab , Maharashtra and Chattisgarh. The investment for cultivation would be to the tune of Rs 50-6- crores, said Dr Majeed, who is a product of the College of Pharmaceutical Sciences , Thiruvananthapuram.

Dr Majeed said Sami Labs, with strong presence in the nutraceuticals and cosmeceutical market, had recorded a turn over of Rs 326 crores during the first six months of this year. Sami Labs has projected a turn over of Rs 600 crores for the calendar year as a whole and touch the Rs 1,000 crores mark by end of 2006. The company is also expanding its manufacturing operations by setting up two new plants in Karnataka and one each in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. The plants in Karnataka would become operational by the end of the year and that in Hyderabad in August. The plant in Tamil Nadu, to be set up at Salem , would come up early next year, he said.