Palmarosa oil is extracted from Cymbopogon martini of the Gramineae family and can also be known as East Indian and Turkish geranium.
The main growing areas in India are said to be the wetlands in the provinces of India, as well as Nepal. It is a slow growing grass which flowers over a 3 month period. Only the flower can it be harvested.
Palmarosa is high in geraniol which is not only used for its rose-like smell but for a number of medicinal and household uses. Palmarosa oil has been shown to be an effective antifungal and mosquito repellent. As for its popular rose-like odour it can be found in many cosmetics and soaps.
In 2014 Indian exports were around 30MT of palmarosa significantly down from 45MT in 2013. This could be largely due to a poor season leading to price increases. The USA is the largest importers of Indian palmarosa, contributing to around 35-40% of annual sales. Europe collectively is larger with 50% of the global sales with France taking around half of the total amount.
The last harvest season produced good volumes. The upcoming season looks positive as well. The majority of the crop is grown in southern parts of India, and the harvest is scheduled every 3-4 months. The price should remain stable.
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