Several business opportunities with high profit making
potential, which are economic
catalysts and components to the Strategy for African Countries, are listed in following
SHEA BUTTER (Issues 5,
b- BLUE GOLD (Issues 14,
c- FREEZE-DRIED PAPAIN (Issues 20,
d- KENAF (Issues 23,
e- VEGETABLE OIL (Issues 25,
f- CEREALS (Issues 30,
g- FRUITS (34,
h- ESSENTIAL OILS (47)
TROPICAL FLOWERS AND FRAGRANCE
PLANTS AGRIBUSINESS AS INCOME BUILDING POWER FOR AN
AFRICAN COMMUNITY: PART
- II - CONTINUATION TO THE INTRODUCTION TO THE ESSENTIAL
oils are odorous products produced from natural raw
materials such as leaves, fruits, roots and wood of
many seasonal or perennial plants. They are of complex
composition and contain alcohol, aldehydes, ketones,
phenols, esters, ethers, and turpenes in varying proportions.
An estimated 3,000 essential oils exist of which around
300 are of commercial importance. Most of them obtained
from agricultural plants, but some 28 essential oils
are collected in commercial quantities from wild sources
is a shortlist of essential oils and the plants they
originated from; with the main producing countries.
- AVAILABILITY OF RAW MATERIAL IN AFRICA
condition to develop essential oils' industry, on small,
medium or large-scale industrial basis, is of course
the availability of the raw material. Agricultural develpment
of the raw materials (plants, seeds, nuts here
listed) used to produce essential oils are not considered
in this delivery. People interested in the matter should
refer to other sources for data and information. Only
exposed are the technical information necessary to the
setup of the industry.
gives briefs about the characteristics of four plants,
which are the most used to produce essential oils i.e.
Geranium, Citronella, Eucalyptus and Lemongrass.
In subsaharan African countries, Malawi
is the one that already has plantations
of Eucalyptus (15,000 ha); Lemongrass (3,200 ha) and
Citronella (2,800 ha).
However, there is not, posting this article on April
15, 2003, an essential oils industry set up in Malawi
and exporting. Malawi is doubtless the destination for
investors interested to setup essential oils industries
on medium and large scale basis. They can quickly start
the operation. Raw materials are aplenty and costs competitive
- a.k.a salaries of hands and staff, availability of
various taxes and fiscal incentives granted by Malawi's
- CHARACTERISTICS AND CHEMICAL COMPOSITION OF ESSENTIAL
Essential oils are a complex mixture of hundred of chemical
ingredients. Only Nature can perform such a blend!
The charasteristics and chemical composition of essential
oils depend on various factors. Of course the agronomic
specie of the raw material plays an important role;
with the preparation made on the raw material before
extracting the oil. The method of extraction used to
produce the essential oils also has an impact. (Methods
of production shall be exposed in Issue 49).
Some volitile ingredients may disappear from the final
product depending on the handling and storage of the
raw material. A small temperature difference during
the production may give another essential oil; and essential
oils from different production batches may differ in
their chemical composition.
Therefore, it is important for a producer to follow
strict production procedure from the preparation phase
to the final production to have a "stable"
product as requested by buyers.
To give an idea of the complex mixture of chemical ingredients
present in essential oils, below exposed is the chemical
composition of Geranium essential oil:
(trace), b-phellandrene, a-pinene (1%), b-pinene (0.2%),
myrcene (0.2%), limonene (0.2%), cis-ocimene (0.2%)
(monoterpenes 1-2%) - Guaiazulene, a-copaene,
g-cadinene, d-cadinene, a-bourbonene, b-bourbonene,
caryophyllene (0.7%) (sesquiterpenes) - Alcohol:
citronellol (21-45%), geraniol (17-25%), linalool (1-13%),
nerol (1.2%), a-terpineol (0.7%) (monoterpenols 55-65%)
- 10-epi-y-eudesmol (1%) (sesquiterpinol) - phenyl ethyl
alcohol (aromatic) - Esters 15%: citronellyl
formates (8-18 %), geranyl formates (1-6%), citronellyl
proprionates (1-3%), geranyl proprionates (0-1%) geranyl
tiglates (1-2%), geranyl acetate, citronellyl butyrate,
geranyl butyrate (1.3%) - Aldehydes Bourbon variety
0-10%: neral, geranial (0-9%), citronella (0-1%)
- Oxides-Only in Chinese variety: 2-3%: cis-rose
oxide (2-25%), cis-linalool oxide, trans-rose oxide
(1%), trans-linalool oxide - Ketones 1-8%: menthone
(0.6-3%), isomenthone (4-8%), piperitone, furopelargone
- USAGES OF ESSENTIAL OILS
The complex mixture above listed can be "broken"
into fewer complex or single separated chemical products,
which are also raw material for further industrial transformation.
These individual chemical ingredients are used as building
blocks to introduce a particular flavor or aroma into
Therefore one can see the industry of essential oils
as the gateway to an endless variety of other industrial
transformations. They include paint, petroleum, mining
and manufacturing; food (processing and flavoring);
drink (alcoholic and nonalcoholic flavorings), pharmaceutical
products, perfumes and toiletries, hygiene products,
- WHY AFRICAN COUNTRIES SHOULD CONSIDER ESSENTIAL OILS
size of essential oils' market exposed in Issue
47 averages US$ 8 billion export a year and increases
at the annual rate of 10.9%. Africa' share is less
than 1% of that market. So there is doubtless room
for Africa to have a better portion of the cake and
kill two birds with one stone.
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Indeed, most subsaharan African countries suffer recurrent
drought, which results in desertification of their territories.
A well planned and carried out reforestation policy
is the answer to the problem. Trees species, which are
raw material to produce aromatic oils should be planted.
The most promising speculations are essential oils from:
Geranium, Citronella, Lemongrass or Sweet calamus,
47 for briefs about said plants)
Once an essential oil industry set up in a subsaharan
African country, it opens the way to develop other business
opportunities: foods, cosmetics, detergent, pesticides.
It will doubtless contribute to the Self--Inducing
And Accelerating Impact Factor/ Synergetic
Impact Factor and speed up the economic development
of said country.
which already has huge acreage of these plantations
Geranium, Citronella and Eucalytus as here
briefly exposed, is the right destinantion for international
investors willing to enter the essential oils market
and benefit from incentives existing in Malawi
In Issue 49,
the production process of essential oils is exposed.
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