Now, it's already been two years since the company was established in 2067 BS, and the commercial farming of Aloe Vera is no longer a new concept in Nepal. There are many people cultivating the crop in Chitwan and according to the company's chairman Mr. Rudra Prasad Giri, the commercial farming of Aloe Vera has already been started in 55 districts of Nepal. Even in my locality in Bharatpur – 8, Gauriganj, there are many people cultivating this plant.
However, is the plant really that profitable?
To search an answer to this question, I went to visit a local farmer in my own locality who had planted Aloe Vera last year in 10 katha land (equal to one third of a Hectare and 6.5 Ropanis). From him, I learnt that it had been 9 months since he planted the crop. If the company's claims are to be believed then he should have already recovered his initial investment cost by now. However, the farmer said that there's no sign of making any income for three more months. This is where the story gets interesting. He has already spent Rs. 12, 00,000 (twelve lakhs) including the initial investment and other expenses he has to incur to take care of Aloe.
Again, I asked him if he was the only one who hadn't been able to make any income by now and he told me that no one, he knew of, had made any income. He mentioned that one person has managed to care the plant quite well, but she too hadn't been able to reap any income until now. Furthermore, he told that all these were the businesses started last year, more or less at the time he started the business.
What all these people's experience means?
It means only one thing and that is you'll not get any return for a year despite the claims made by Palm Agrotech!
However, should you not plant Aloe Vera?
I don't think that the business is completely unprofitable. Depending upon your conditions and given that Palm will guarantee the market, the business has some potential to be profitable. However, I can't recommend it either. Below I have explained the reasons for both of my views.
My observation is based upon only a few farmers' output. Besides other factors, their crop were plagued by excessive weeds too. Hence, chances are there that there are people who might have been successful to do much better than these people. So, if the land is good, and if the other variables are favourable, then probably you can harvest better return. So, if you are confident then you can do it. This article isn't meant to discourage you but to point you to the fact that the profits as stated by Palm Agrotech are exaggerated. I can say with 100 percent certainty that you won't recover your investment within six months. However, if you can recover it within a year then this business should be profitable, in my opinion. The farmer, whom I met, was a bit disappointed but had not lost his hope. He is planning to expand his business in the coming years. So, I think Aloe Vera can be a moderately profitable business for producers in the long run.
Now, why I can't recommend it is because there are much better alternatives available to you. For example, you can do organic farming of vegetables, rear animals such as cows and goats, plant fruits, and there are many more businesses which can be potentially more profitable and which can provide you more engagement and more ways to earn income. What I fear about Aloe Vera is that the company says that people can sell young plants but at a much lower rate than they buy and the market is not guaranteed. Moreover, harvesting Aloe Vera requires due care and should be done within limited time frame to preserve the vital chemical compounds present in the Aloe leaves. And the market is limited to the Palm Agrotech.
If you instead rear goats, then you can easily expand your business and make income from multiple ways such as selling manure, selling goats for meat, milking goats and preparing cheese from it, and so on. There are many ways for you to make an income. Apart from it there are other flexibilities. You can't dissolve Aloe Vera business within a month. But you can leave goat business within a day, if you desire to retire from it. So, that's why I don't recommend commercial aloe vera farming.
Rather than going for a profitable, I suggest you to go for the most suitable business that suits the climate of your place as well as your interest. Consider all the factors and decide for yourself.