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The European market potential for moringa

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Dried Moringa oleifera powder is mainly used in nutritional supplements in the European health products sector. Demand for such products is forecast to grow in the coming years. The main drivers are increasing life expectancy of European consumers, rising disposable incomes and growing consumer awareness. Health product companies are looking for natural ingredients that give active and functional properties to their products, whilst consumers are looking for natural alternatives to synthetic products.

1. Product description

This study focuses on dried Moringa oleifera leaf powder and its use in health products. Moringa is mostly sold as a powder or in the form of capsules in the nutraceutical sector. The European food industry uses moringa in the powder, leaf, seed and oil formats because of its functional and nutritional properties. The European cosmetics industry mostly uses moringa oil for its moisturising, cleansing and emollient properties; it is also used in aromatherapy and massage oils, as it blends well with other essential oils, and it is also a good carrier oil.

India, South Africa, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya and Zambia have an established commercial moringa production industry. It is estimated that India accounts for around 80 percent of the global moringa supply. Table 1 lists 13 moringa species and where they are native to. Moringa oleifera commercial production is the most developed. Most moringa products in Europe involve Moringa oleifera.

Table 1: 13 moringa species and where they are native to.

Species

Native To

Moringa arborea

Kenya

Moringa boziana

Somali

Moringa concanensis

Northern India

Moringa drouhardii

Southwestern Madagascar

Moringa hildebrandtii

Southwestern Madagascar

Moringa longituba

Ethiopia and Somalia

Moringa oleifera

Northwestern India

Moringa ovalifolia

Namibia and Angola

Moringa peregrina

Arabian Peninsula, Horn of Africa and Southern Sinai, Egypt

Moringa pygmaea

Somalia

Moringa rivae

Kenya and Ethiopia

Moringa ruspoliana

Ethiopia

Moringa stenopetala

Kenya and Ethiopia

Source: Wikipedia

In the European health products market, moringa oleifera leaf powder is mainly used in food supplements and as a powder, because of its nutrients and beneficial health properties (see Table 2).

Table 2: Nutrients and beneficial health properties of Moringa oleifera leaf powders

Nutrients

Beneficial Health Properties

Vitamin A

Vitamin C

Calcium

Potassium

 

Iron

Protein

Lowering blood sugar levels

Protecting against diabetes

Reducing inflammation and oxidation

Defending against viral, fungal and bacterial infections

Reduction of tiredness and fatigue

Defending against cognitive decline

Protecting kidney and liver function

Strengthening skin and hair

Source: NCBI/Various

Moringa’s high nutrient content is one of its main selling points. It is considered to be a superfood in the health products sector because its dense nutrient content can boost the immune system, balance hormone levels and improve skin and bone health, as well as vision. Moringa is also increasingly used as a plant-based protein source in vegan and vegetation products.

Health products suppliers in Europe market moringa on its high vitamin and antioxidant content. Its versatile nature enables moringa powder to be added to a wide range of meals.

The drying process is an important step in moringa leaf powder production. Moringa leaves need to be dried immediately upon harvesting. This enables the leaves to retain their nutrient content. Transportation of loose dried leaves is not common; European importers source dried powder processed from the countries of origin.

Moringa powder does not have its own HS code. It is traded under the HS code 07129090 for other dried vegetables and mixtures of vegetables. It can be also traded under the HS code 1219086 for other medical plants and parts of plants.

Figure 1: European food supplements containing Moringa oleifera leaf powder

Moringa food supplements

Source: Various

Tip:

  • Thoroughly research moringa’s beneficial properties and how it compares to alternative products, as you can use this information to persuade European buyers to buy moringa. There are various websites dedicated to Moringa oleifera, such as Moringa News.

2. What makes Europe an interesting market for moringa?

Europe is an attractive market for moringa suppliers in developing countries. There is high demand for high-quality nutritional supplements, providing an opportunity for moringa suppliers in developing countries. There is increasing demand for natural ingredients and a growing vegan and vegetarian population in Europe. Growing consumer awareness of the health properties of moringa is also generating demand for moringa. The coronavirus crisis is having a positive effect by stimulating demand for immune-boosting supplements and natural products. This trend is expected to continue in the future.

India is the leading producer of moringa drumsticks in the world with a production of 2.2 million tonnes of tender fruits annually, according to Agri Exchange. The production area is around 43,600 hectares; the main producing states include Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. In India, most moringa is produced on large plantations.

The cultivation of moringa varies between different parts of India. In the Northern and Eastern parts, leaves are harvested in December and January. In the Southern parts, the peak season for harvesting is between July/September and March/April. Moringa is also produced in Asia, Africa and Latin America in countries such as the Philippines and Bangladesh, Pakistan, South Africa, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya, Zambia, Pakistan, Brazil and Peru.

In the European health products market, Moringa oleifera is mainly used in the health products sector. African moringa, Moringa stenopetala, is also present in the European market, but its share remains small.

There is a growing market for nutritional supplements in Europe. According to a PwC report, the European Vitamins and Dietary supplements market was estimated to reach EUR 15.2 billion in 2020. The market is expected to continue to grow to reach EUR 16.5 billion by 2023. This presents an opportunity for you as a supplier of moringa. European consumers are increasingly looking for more natural products, including supplements.

Despite relatively low consumer awareness of moringa, the market is growing. According to Reportlinker, the European moringa products market was valued at USD 903 million in 2018. It is forecast that the market will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 8.7 percent to reach USD 1.9 billion by 2027. The main driver is growing awareness of moringa’s health properties, such as stress reduction, immunity boosting and anti-diabetic.

Moringa is also a source of plant-based protein, having all nine essential amino acids. The European plant protein market was worth USD 2.3 billion in 2019. The market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 5.4 percent between 2020 and 2025. European consumers are looking at ways to reduce meat intake. According to the European Union agricultural outlook for 2018-2030 report, the per capita amount of meat eaten by Europeans is expected to fall from 69.3kg in 2018 to 68.6kg in 2030. The main reason behind this trend is the rise in vegetarianism and veganism in Europe.

Figure 3 shows that consumers spend the most on protein-related health and fitness supplements across many countries in Europe. This could present an opportunity for suppliers of moringa in developing countries. Health-conscious consumers are switching to plant-based protein, as vegan and vegetarian lifestyles become more popular.

Figure 4 shows the countries with the highest share of vegan product launches in the food and drink sector in 2018. It is shown that most of the countries are in Europe.

Moringa also helps boost personal immunity. In Europe, there is growing demand for health products that promote the immune system. According to Wellmune consumer research, around 42 percent of global consumers look for products that can improve their health. About 20 percent said that immune support was their number one reason for purchasing healthy lifestyle products. The COVID-19 pandemic has further increased demand for immune-boosting health products.

Moringa suppliers could take advantage of this growing awareness of consumers in Europe. Figure 5 shows what drives consumers to purchase supplements. It is shown that reasons such as knowing the source of ingredients (81 percent), natural sources (79 percent), no artificial colours/flavours (72 percent) and plant-based (71 percent) ranked relatively high. As moringa ticks all of these boxes, this shows that there is a demand for natural and plant-based health products in the market.

According to industry sources, it is estimated that the volume of moringa leaf powder imported to Europe is around 130-160 tonnes. Figures 6, 7, 8 and 9 show imports of ingredients with HS code 07129090 and HS code 12119089, under which category moringa is usually traded. However, this data is not representative of moringa only. The demand for moringa ingredients has been increasing in the last few years, as more consumers have become aware of its benefits and the number of product launches of moringa products has risen.

The moringa market also faces growth restraints in Europe. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) raised safety concerns about moringa in September 2019. The safety concerns were about the African moringa (Moringa stenopetala) leaf, because of a lack of information on quality and quantity of undesirable substances. So far, no conclusions have been reached. However, the concerns can discourage European consumers from purchasing moringa products.

Moringa is still not very well known among European consumers. It is expected that consumer awareness will rise in the near future as more operators enter the European market. This will stimulate demand for moringa-based health products.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also increased demand for natural immune-boosting products in Europe. In November 2020, the UK company Aduna launched organic moringa capsules to meet growing demand for health enhancing supplements. However, supply shortages can cause disruption in the availability of moringa. As India accounts for the majority of the global production, its lockdown led moringa production to close in March and April 2020, thus disrupting supply chains. This could persuade European buyers to substitute moringa with alternative ingredients, especially those sourced more locally.

Tips:

  • Visit trade shows that focus on the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle in Europe. Examples include Veggie World and Veg Fest. You may find buyers there that are interested in plant-based protein ingredients.
  • Consider organic certification for your moringa. This can help you meet specific buyer requirements, as buyers are seeking high-quality products, and they view organic products as having higher quality and being safer. Exporters of organic moringa need to meet the EU organic standard.

3. Which European countries offer most opportunities for moringa?

The most prospective countries for moringa are the Western European countries. These include Germany, the UK, France, the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. These countries have the biggest nutritional supplements markets, as well as relatively high awareness of moringa. Traders and suppliers of moringa products are also located in these countries.

Germany

Table 3: Imports of ingredients with HS code 07129090 and HS code 12119086 to Germany, 2016-2020

2020

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2016-2020)

m EUR

% Change Value (2016-2020)

Exporters

Important Market Players

HSC: 07129090

26.5

0%

83.2

-17%

 China (46.3%), Poland (15.8%), Egypt (7.7 %)

Africrops, AB Im- und Export A Beringer & Co, BioSim.

HSC: 12119086

70.9

9%

318.5

40%

 

France (40%), Spain (16%), Greece (8.9%)

Source: Eurostat

Table 3 shows imports of ingredients with HS codes 07129090 and 12119086, under which moringa is traded. However, other ingredients are also traded under these HS codes, and the trend is not representative only of moringa. Based on industry feedback, it is estimated that around 50-60 tonnes of moringa leaf powder is exported to Germany annually. Some of the main importers of moringa are Africrops, AB Im- und Export A Beringer & Co. and Proflora.

According to IQVIA, the German nutritional supplements market was worth EUR 2.57 billion in 2019. Vitamins and minerals account for 51 percent of the market, and supplements for the cardiovascular system (organs and tissues involved in circulating blood and lymph through the body) have a 10 percent share. Supplements for pain relief and muscle and joint health and immune-boosting supplements have a 9 percent share each. Probiotics for the digestive tract (organs related to digestion of food) and remedies for the bladder and reproductive organs have an 8 percent share each. Eye care, oral care and hair care account for the remaining share. It is shown that immune-boosting supplements rank relatively high, which creates opportunities for you.

The vegan and vegetarian lifestyle is gaining popularity among German consumers. It is estimated that there are around 9.3 million vegans and vegetarians in Germany. According to Nielsen, around 31 percent of Germans are choosing to eat less meat.

You should target German buyers of moringa, as the popularity of moringa is growing amongst German consumers. German consumers have a high level of health consciousness and awareness. The ageing population is also generating demand for moringa products. There is also a growing demand for organic moringa on the German market. The German organic food market is the largest in Europe. According to traders, Germany is one of the largest importers of organic moringa.

United Kingdom

Table 4: Imports of ingredients with HS code 07129090 and HS code 12119086 to the UK, 2015-2019

2019

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2015-2019)

m EUR

% Change Value (2015-2019)

Exporters

Important Market Players

HSC: 07129090

8.6

8%

25.3

9%

China (56.4%), Germany (9.1%), Belgium (8.4%)

Top Line Foods

Organic Herb Trading Co

Nutra Ingredients

Minvita (Orient Solutions Ltd), Aduna 

 

HSC: 12119086

17.5

107%

62.7

37%

The Netherlands (28.4%), Germany (15.2%), India (6.2%)

Source: Eurostat*
*Latest available data

Between 2015 and 2019, UK imports of other dried vegetables and mixtures of vegetables with HS code 07129090 and other medical plants and parts of plants with HS code 12119086 have increased. Several ingredients are listed under this HS code. However, based on industry feedback, it is estimated that around 20-30 tonnes of moringa leaf powder is imported to the UK annually.

The UK supplements market was worth GBP 449.5 million (529.5 EUR) in 2019 according to Mintel. The market is expected to grow in the coming years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, sales of supplements in the UK have increased, particularly vitamin and mineral supplements. Leading traders of moringa in the UK include Top Line Foods, Organic Herb Trading Co, Nutra Ingredients, Minvita (Orient Solutions Ltd) and Aduna.

There is a growing preference for vegan and vegetarian products in the UK. According to Mintel, the UK had the highest number of new vegan food product launches in the world in 2018. Around 34 percent of meat eaters in the UK reduced their consumption of meat in the first half of 2018. These trends are leading to increasing demand for plant-based protein in the UK.

Suppliers of moringa in developing countries should target UK importers. Brexit – Britain’s exit from the European Union (EU) – has caused disruption to supply chains. This may bring challenges to exporters of natural ingredients for health products from developing countries. Re-negotiating and entering new trade deals with developing countries is likely to take time. Regularly visit and check the BBC News website to keep up to date with the latest Brexit developments.

France

Table 5: Imports of ingredients with HS code 07129090 and HS code 12119086 to France, 2016-2020

2020

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2016-2020)

m EUR

% Change Value (2016-2020)

Exporters

Important Market Players

HSC: 07129090

10

25%

25.4

-3%

 

China (38.3%), Germany (19.6%), Belgium (9.8%)

Moringa & Co

LT Labo

Nature & Partage 

 

HSC: 12119086

19.4

2%

94.1

28%

 Germany (14.3%), Morocco (9.9%), China (6.5%)

Source: Eurostat

Table 5 shows that imports of other dried vegetables and mixtures of vegetables with HS code 07129090 and other medical plants and parts of plants with HS code 12119086 have been increasing in France. Several ingredients are listed under this HS code. However, it is estimated that around 15-20 tonnes of moringa leaf powder are imported to France annually.

France has an important consumer market for nutritional supplements. The French food supplements market was worth EUR 1.9 billion in 2019, which had increased by 1.3 percent from 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in French sales of nutritional supplements, especially those that strengthen the immune system, boost energy levels, aid relaxation and calm stress. Demand is expected to grow in the coming years. Important market players include Moringa & Co, LT Labo and Nature & Partage.

According to industry sources, French consumers are becoming more aware of moringa products. Suppliers of moringa in developing countries should take advantage of this opportunity and target French buyers. It is expected that demand for moringa will increase further in the coming years.

The Netherlands

Table 6: Imports of ingredients with HS code 07129090 and HS code 12119086 to the Netherlands, 2016-2020

2020

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2016-2020)

m EUR

% Change Value (2016-2020)

Exporters

Important Market Players

HSC: 07129090

21.7

-22%

85.8

8%

 

China (26.3%), Germany (24.7%), Spain (16%)

Z Company

Sigma Oil Seeds

Moringa's Finest

Yamba Health

Kraatje

 

HSC: 12119086

14.9

51%

69.2

52%

 

Kenya (13.6%), Belgium (12.8%), Germany (10.8%)

Source: Eurostat

The Netherlands offers an opportunity for moringa suppliers in developing countries, as it is a significant importer of raw materials. Most moringa imported into the Netherlands gets re-exported to other European countries. Imports of moringa into the Netherlands are low compared to countries such as Germany and the UK.

The Dutch supplements market was valued at EUR 143 million in 2018. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Dutch demand for dietary supplements was increasing. This trend continued during COVID-19. Demand for dietary supplements increased as consumers sought products that helped boost their immune systems and improve their overall health. Important market players include Z Company, Sigma Oil Seeds, Moringa's Finest, Yamba Health and Kraatje.

Table 6 shows imports of other dried vegetables and mixtures of vegetables with HS code 07129090 and of other medical plants and parts of plants with HS code 12119086. Imports of dried vegetables under the HS code 07129090 increased in volume and value in the last five years. These HS codes are not entirely representative of moringa powder. Imports of ingredients under the HS code 12119086 increased both in value and in volume between 2016 and 2020.

It is expected that demand for moringa from the Netherlands will continue to rise, as the popularity of moringa increases in European countries.

Italy

Table 7: Imports of ingredients with HS code 07129090 and HS code 12119086 to Italy, 2016-2020

2020

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2016-2020)

m EUR

% Change Value (2016-2020)

Exporters

Important Market Players

HSC: 07129090

2.7

-14.1%

8.9

-23%

 

China (38.6%), Germany (13.5%), Poland (8.8%)

Bioaltech

Fastbrain

Favella Group

 

HSC: 12119086

12.5

0.1%

71.7

-3%

 

India (13.4%), Germany (12.6%), Austria (12%)

Source: Eurostat

Italy has one of the largest consumer markets in Europe. It also has one of the biggest markets for organic products. The organic food market has been growing annually. Italian consumers have high consumer awareness and demand high-quality natural health products.

The Italian food supplements market was valued at EUR 3.6 billion in 2019. In Italy, around 65 percent of the adult Italian population uses supplements for various reasons. In 2020, purchasing power of Italian consumers declined during the coronavirus pandemic. As a result, Italians are prioritising essential dietary supplements that boost the immune system. Important Italian market players in Italy include Bioaltech, Fastbrain and Favella Group.

Imports of ingredients with HS codes 07129090 and 12119086 decreased in volume between 2016 and 2020. However, these import data do not represent just moringa imports. Italian traders tend to source moringa from intra-EU trade from countries such as Germany and the Netherlands. The Red Moringa company sources moringa that is cultivated in Spain.

The Italian market for moringa products is still in a nascent stage of development. It is expected that demand for moringa will increase in the future, as consumer awareness rises. Growing consumer awareness of health and wellness products is likely to be the major driver.

Spain

Table 8: Imports of ingredients with HS code 07129090 and HS code 12119086 to Spain, 2016-2020

2020

000 Tonnes

% Change Volume (2016-2020)

m EUR

% Change Value (2016-2020)

Exporters

Important Market Players

HSC: 07129090

5.4

9%

13.3

-16%

 

China (56%), Germany (14.7%), Poland (6.8%)

The Food Team,

Honest Food,

Robis

 

HSC: 12119086

25.4

24.3%

86.5

28%

 

Morocco (22.5%), Egypt (9.1%), Paraguay (6.5%)

Source: Eurostat

According to the EFPIA, the Spanish pharmaceutical market was valued at EUR 17.1 billion in 2019. Spain is also an important market for organic products. Important market players include The Food Team, Honest Food and Robis.

Table 8 shows increasing volumes of imports of ingredients with HS codes 07129090 and 12119086 between 2016 and 2020. However, imports of moringa to Spain remain small when compared to Germany and the UK. There is also domestic production of moringa. However, this does not represent a threat to suppliers of moringa in developing countries. The Spanish production is not sufficient to meet demand in Europe.

Spain has a prospective market for moringa suppliers in developing countries. The demand for high quality and organic products is increasing. Although the awareness of moringa is still relatively low in Spain, it is expected that demand will increase in the future as more market players enter the market. Suppliers of moringa should target Spanish buyers, especially those that focus on organic and natural products.

In conclusion, the most prospective countries for moringa are Western European countries. European consumers, especially those in Germany, the UK and France, are becoming more aware of the health properties of moringa. Most moringa products are sold in specialist retailers in Western European countries. Demand for moringa is expected to continue to increase in the coming years. The main restraint to market growth is low consumer awareness in overall Europe.

Tips:

  • Focus on Western European countries, as they import the highest volumes of moringa; these countries also have consumers with the highest awareness of moringa products. Western European countries also have the largest nutritional supplements markets, as well as robust processing sectors.
  • Consider supplying organic moringa when targeting country markets such as Germany, Italy, the UK and France. These countries have the largest markets for organic products in Europe. Organic moringa is in growing demand in the European market.
  • Read the CBI study on exporting plant proteins for health products to Europe. This has more information on competition, regulations and competition.

The popularity of moringa is increasing in the European market. However, its benefits are known to a relatively small part of the population. Demand for moringa is driven by rising health consciousness among the European population. European consumers are looking for natural ways to improve their health and immune system. The COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating demand for immune-boosting health products, including moringa. However, low and inconsistent quality causes major problems to European buyers.

Calorie reduction and weight loss culture

A recent report found that the culture of weight loss and reducing calories is driving the moringa products market. Concerns relating to weight and obesity are increasing rapidly in most of Europe, and this trend is expected to continue; the European weight loss supplements market is forecast to increase in the period up to 2025. This trend presents an opportunity for moringa suppliers to the European health products market.

This growth is because of moringa’s ability to reduce weight gain. Moringa has active properties, such as being a rich source of vitamins and fibre, being a remedy for water retention and stimulating metabolism. In addition, moringa is perceived as a natural food that is used for weight loss. Moringa suppliers should ensure that the nutritional profile of their products is of the highest level.

Moringa suppliers in developing countries should ensure their products are of high quality in terms of their properties. They can do this by avoiding contamination of moringa during its production and by storing it in suitable packaging materials and conditions. Following this, they can develop documentation such as detailed Technical Data Sheets and a Certificate of Analysis proving the moringa’s nutritional profile is of the highest level and quality.

Tips:

  • Familiarise yourself with EU health claims regulations. See the list of permitted health claims under EU law. Do not make medicinal claims when approaching buyers in the European supplements industry.
  • Under EU Law, the use and claim of the word superfood must be supported by scientific evidence. Thus, be prepared to substantiate the use and claim of superfood with scientific data. Visit websites such as sciencedirect.com and NCBI to look for scientific papers.
  • See the CBI Study What requirements must natural ingredients for health products comply with to be allowed on the European market? Doing so will provide you with useful information and guidance on entering the European market. For example, terms such as ‘low-fat’ and ’fat-free’ are regulated by the EU.

COVID-19 offers new opportunities

The coronavirus pandemic is changing consumer attitudes and behaviour and is likely to continue to do so over the coming years as consumers seek products that help disease prevention. Since the virus outbreak, consumers have started to pay greater attention to their diets and health as they try to increase their personal immunity. Consumers are turning to vitamins and supplements, and this trend is expected to continue.

Moringa powder contains beneficial active nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants that help to strengthen immunity. Moringa suppliers can capitalise on this by ensuring their products contain the highest levels of active nutrients. They should be ready to provide samples to prospective European buyers. In addition, they should highlight the beneficial active properties of their moringa in marketing materials.

Tips:

  • Always send European buyers moringa samples of the highest quality, as this will improve your chances of doing business with them. Following this, always continue to send a high-quality, consistent product, because European buyers expect this.
  • When approaching European buyers, focus on the nutritional profile of moringa. Immune-boosting properties are a good selling point when approaching European buyers, as consumers are looking for natural ingredients/products to improve their health. Always substantiate your claims with scientific studies and evidence. See the CBI Study on Market Entry Requirements for exporting moringa to Europe.
  • Ensure that you have an online presence and that your website is up to date. This is because prospective European buyers use the Internet to find and assess prospective suppliers of moringa before doing business with them. Make sure you post updates on the state of your business, especially during such impactful events as a lockdown or a pandemic. For example, the Indian company Terry Exports has a modern website with helpful information on moringa and regular updates.

Lack of quality in moringa supply chain puts European buyers off

According to industry feedback, the quality of moringa on the market is low. Inconsistency in quality and issues such as corruption and bribery have forced some European buyers to stop importing moringa. A former importer of moringa stated, “With COVID-19 lockdown measures present in countries such as India, the situation got even worse, as many producers stopped operations.” Another importer of moringa complained that they were sent a high-quality sample, but then the quality of moringa they received afterwards was much lower.

You should make sure that the quality of your moringa is consistent and up to par with European standards. Quality is the most common issue that European buyers complain about when it comes to their experiences with importing moringa. Make sure your moringa is not contaminated with any substances or residues and that you have sufficient storage facilities.

Tips:

  • See the CBI Market Entry Study on Moringa, in which you can find quality requirements European buyers have for moringa. You can also read about quality management standards you can adopt in order to improve the quality of moringa.

  • Make sure you are transparent about the quality of the moringa you offer. Inconsistency in quality may lead to termination of your business relationships. Focus on building long-term partnerships based on trust and transparency.

This study has been carried out on behalf of CBI by Ecovia Intelligence.

Please review our market information disclaimer.

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It (COVID-19) was a boost for the business. It was just more difficult to get stuff out of India because the borders were closed.
Jouke van den Berg, Moringa’s Finest