Kola nut in Nigeria, West Africa is an important economic crop in the South-Eastern part of the country as it is used in various traditions, it is being eaten more by the northerners but widely grown in the South West such as; Ogun, Kwara, Osun and Oyo State.
Kola nut cultivation is predominant to tropical rainforests of Africa like Nigeria, it is gotten from kola tree with contains caffeine and serves as a flavouring ingredient in beverages otherwise known as “cola” and contains stimulants comprising of about 2% caffeine, as well as kolanin and theobromine.
It is a perennial crop that grows well in hot humid climates and is grown into pods; it initially has a bitter taste when chewed but later sweetens. Cultivation of kola nuts is grown using its nuts when fresh, it takes 5-6 weeks to sprout out and about 3-5 years to start producing fruits.
It can be harvested manually or mechanically by plucking the pod containing fruits, after which it is opened and the fruits allowed dry to some extent.
In most cases, kola nut is cultivated by farmers for the brewery and beverage companies and it also has proved to have a lot of health benefits as it helps in digestion, can be used to prevent or treat chest colds, can help in weight loss by reducing appetite and so on.
Due to the climate condition in Nigeria and West Africa which helps in the effective growth of Kola nut, Nigeria has been ranked 1st in terms of production with just 1/10 of the total production being exported and the remaining locally consumed.
Other leading countries in terms of kola nut production is still from Africa specifically, West Africa and in no sequential order are Ghana, Cameroon, and Sierra Leone. Kola nuts can also be sourced from Abidjan in greater quantity for export into the foreign markets for some maximum profits.
Prospects In Kola Nut Business
Kola nut export is one of the least known money maker in some parts of this country. If you have access to Kola nuts, you are in for dollars exporting it to foreign countries. Kola nut is highly sought after because of its many usages both in pharmaceutical and soft drinks productions.
The prices of kola nuts vary in Nigeria markets, but when you are poised to having it exported out of the country, you will be sure to have the profit margin rounded up many times for you.
For instance, the price you get a basket of kola nut in Ondo state is quite different from what you would get it in mile 12 market in Lagos. In fact, the differences may be N60,000 as against the N12,000 for the same quantity of 75 kg of kola nuts in local markets.
One thing that is assured is that any how you retail it in Nigeria markets; you are assured of making enough profits. This may be the reason why many of the dealers don’t seem to bother about taking the product out of the country.
Do you know that the kola nut is an important commodity that can be exported to manufacturing companies outside Nigeria? Yes! That is the same kola nut that is usually known as “Goro” and “oji” This caffeine based edible seed is often used ceremonially by West Africans and mostly Nigerians to show a gesture of friendship, warmth and peace.
Kola nut is used for many things abroad including spices. It is so useful in oversea that no amount you exported that can be enough.
In the western world, kola nut extract is used in the production of beverage drinks, energy drinks, cosmetics (e.g. beauty soaps and creams), chewing gums, sweets, etc. Medically, Kola nut and its products have many benefits; it aids digestion, helps with weight loss, energy supplement , anti-depressant, decreases high blood pressure, acts as pain reliever, to mention but a few.
The Demand in the Local and International Market
Kola nut, as small as it is, is of enormous value in the local and international market with India, China, Europe and U.S.A as major buyers. There’s high demand for it by industries that require kola nut as their raw material. They include:
Energy Drink Producers: Kola nut extract is being used as a raw material for production of energy drinks such as Red Bull, Passion, Bullet, Power Horse, etc. Juice and Soft drink Producers – Fruit juice and popular soft drink producers like Coca cola and Pepsi use Kola nut extract in their production.
Beverage/Tea Producers: There are different tea brands in the market today and these certain certain amount of caffeine which is extracted from kola nut. Examples are herbal tea, mate tea, green tea, etc. Kola nut extract is also used by producers of beauty products, wine, sweet and chewing gum producers.
Kola nut producing states in Nigeria
You can buy kola nuts in large quantities in the western part of Nigeria. They can be found in the following states: Osun State – Owena, Ikirun, Faforiji, Garage Olode (Ife East), Ijebu Jesa, Esa Oke, Odo-Ijesa, Iperindo, Ise Ijesa. Ondo State – Ogbese, Owo, Ore Others are ; Oje and Shasha markets in Ibadan, Sabo market in Ile-Ife, etc.
Required Start Up Capital
You will need within N80, 000 to N150, 000 to start off. This depends on your buyers. Given that kola nut is in high demand in Europe and U.S.A and a large supply of the commodity can be sourced easily in our Nigeria. It therefore means that exporting kola nut to America and Europe is a lucrative business. And whoever starts exporting this commodity to foreign buyers will be making tons of dollars on a regular basis.
Steps to start kola nut export
After you might have secured a buyer through referral or through internet, you can conveniently start the business with at least N80,000.
When you buy the kola nuts and have taken enough time to clean it up of some unwanted spots due to Ants infections and other weather related black spots, the next thing is to have it wrapped with a paper wrapper at the weight of 1kg per wrapper then have it 7 wrappers packed into a carton which would be 7kg in all. That is the acceptable kg per carton.
So with a kola nut of N80,000, you would spend at least N10,000 to get the wrappers and other expenses to have it packaged after which you take it to a Courier company for transporting to the destination where your kola nut export customers are.
This is for a small scale kola nut export. If you are going big with the business then you would have to register with the shipping council to have your goods forwarded for you without hassles.
Even as a small scale kola nut exporter, you are assured of 100% profit of any goods shipped to your overseas customers.
Do not forget to look for a courier company with the most favorable prices to export your goods. Always make sure that none of the cartons exceeds 7kg to avoid being rejected by the courier. As you can see, kola nut export is quite simple, simpler than you think.
For those that want to do it in a big way, having an online presence where you can have your goods advertised is very important.
Where to Get Customers For Kola Nut Export
New Zealand, Brazil, UK, Australia, Canada, and USA and these countries are known to have large productions of energy drinks with some high rates of their consumption.
Once you have made up your mind to go into it, be sure to have it done in a big and admirable way because kola nuts exportation is a lucrative business.