Do you want to start a commercial lavender farm with low capital investment? Find here a detailed lavender farm business plan for your ready reference.
Commercial lavender farming is a profitable business opportunity even for small entrepreneurs. However, a large piece of land ensures a better profit ratio.
The scientific name of lavender is Lavandula. And the plant belongs to the family Lamiaceae. General industry use includes fragrance, specialty food, and alternative medicine industry. France, Bulgaria, Ukraine, Russia, Australia, and the Mediterranean regions are the major producers of lavender essential oils. In South Africa, major lavender growing areas are the Western and Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga provinces.
Is Lavender Farming Profitable?
Lavender is an important economic crop. However, proper marketing is essential to get long-term success in the business. Generally, the common use of lavender is for decoration. Additionally, there are other popular ways people use lavender. Some of the more popular ways include culinary, essential oil, U-pick, and crafts. Oil production in the United States can not compete with wholesale markets such as Australia, New Zealand, and France.
Lavender flowers yield abundant nectar which yields high-quality honey for beekeepers. Lavender varietal honey is produced primarily in the nations around the Mediterranean and marketed worldwide as a premium product. Additionally, lavender candied lavender blossoms are essential items for cake decorations.
Furthermore, lavender has several medicinal properties. There are 30 different types of lavender oils and blends traded on world markets.
The major market in the world for essential oils is the United States, followed by Japan and Europe. In the United States, the major users of essential oils are soft drink companies. Japan accounts for 10 % of world demand. Generally, the United States perfume and flavoring industry dominate the Canadian market.
Here are the 7 Steps to Follow to Start a Lavender Farm
1. Create a Lavender Farm Business Plan
It is important to have a comprehensive business plan in your hand. First of all, identify the land area. According to the land area and agro-climatic condition, choose the right variety. Additionally, do some market research. It is important to have a clear idea about the local demand for lavender.
Calculate the input cost. Generally, input cost includes the cost related to seeds, fertilizer, plant protection, and equipment purchase including hiring and labor cost.
Additionally, you must have a marketing plan. If your lavender crop is marketed correctly then you are sure to see success. Advertising is a large part of a successful business.
2. Ideal Agroclimatic Condition For Lavender Farm
Lavender is a long-lived perennial, with a typical productive life of about 10 years. A mild winter and warm, sunny summers, are ideal for lavender production. Lavender needs full sun to do well, but not too much summer heat. A cold winter is also necessary to produce the best flower heads.
However, lavender can tolerate moderate frost and drought. Spike lavender cannot tolerate frost. All lavenders are sensitive to high humidity. High summer temperatures adversely affect oil quality. Lavender can produce well with an annual rainfall range of 300 to 1400 mm per year. Allow the soil to dry well between irrigations and do not over-irrigate.
3. Ideal Soil for Lavender Farm
Lavender requires well-drained light, sandy, or sandy loam, or gravelly soils in full sun. You can also grow lavender in low-fertility soils. However, you must maintain the soil pH between 5,8, and 8,3. Too moist soils will cause poor plant growth, diseases, or kill the plant. English lavenders prefer alkaline soils, whereas the Lavandin varieties require slightly more acidic soils.
4. Equipment For Lavender Farm
You must arrange the required equipment for lavender farming. Generally, you can get the equipment in the lease or you can purchase it. Additionally, the requirement of the equipment depends on the size of your farmland. However, here we are putting a basic list.
- Bush Hog
- Drip Irrigation System
- String Trimmer
- Distillation Unit
- Other miscellaneous equipment.
5. Choose The Right Variety For Your Lavender Farm
Choosing the right variety is one of the most important factors in this business. There are 48 species of lavender with hundreds of various genotypes differentiated by variations ranging from growth form to chemical composition of the essential oil. However, there are three main species within the genus that produce lavender essential oil and are widely grown by lavender farmers.
- L. Angustifolia (true lavender, English)
- L. Latifolia (Spika, broad leaves)
- L. Angustifolia x L. Latifolia (Lavandin)
Basically, you will need to select the variety according to the end user. Several industries are the major consumers of lavender stems, flowers, and leaves.
In the operational aspects, you must provide the right irrigation, weeding, maturing, and plant protection.
6. Harvesting & Processing
If you are growing lavender for essential oil, then you must harvest the only developed flowers. Harvesting during a time of fine weather is crucial. Because free water in contact with the oil during the preheating stage of distillation reduces oil quality and extraction efficiency. In addition, Very cold weather prevents the development of esters.
After harvesting, you must dry the flowers. After grading and chemical composition, you can go for the oil distillation process. Essential oils are volatile and therefore you must handle them with care. Keep the
oils in dark, air-tight glass bottles and do not expose them to heat or heavy metals.
7. Have a Marketing Plan
You must promote your produce. According to your marketing plan, you can promote flowers, dried flowers, and essential oil. Apart from concentrated essential oil, you can prepare some blends also. Additionally, pay attention to both B2B and B2C avenues. Tap the local market first. Additionally, you can also sell your products through online marketplaces.
If you live in an agroclimatic condition that allows lavenders to grow, then starting a lavender farm is the perfect business for you.
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