16 Mar 2016

How to Make Huge Money Exporting Shea Butter a.k.a Ori From Nigeria

While many Nigerians wallow in abject poverty and lack, the things that can make them financially free and probably rich lay wasting around them due to lack of information.

In this exclusive article, we bring to you, an eye-opening interview excerpt from successdigest newspaper, on how Nigerians can tap into the wide money making opportunities that shea butter has to offer, so find time and read the article below after the page cut:




Shea butter, popularly called “Ori” in the Southern part of the country is a product with many uses, ranging from skin care application to cough treatment. Its efficacy is also widely appreciated in Asia, Europe, and America, giving it a huge export potential vehicle to Nigeria, which has been adjudged the largest producer of the product the world over.
 
But, in spite of the fact that our climate favours the production of this wonder substance, which has a huge demand in the international market, Nigeria is yet to take advantage of it to generate the much needed hard currency into our economy, largely due to ignorance.
 
In this edition, your darling number one business opportunities newspaper went in search of experts in Shea butter business to share with its readers the new developments in the industry and areas Nigerians can explore in 2016 and make the year a financially fulfilling one.
 
The duo of Evangelist Godwin Oyefeso, CEO, SuccessEdge International Limited and Dr. Olubukola Olafimihan, Shea Butter Merchant, were gracious enough to give us their time when we met with them recently. They share their experience of the industry and provide useful ideas and tips you can run with in making a successful Shea Butter business in the coming year. Enjoy it!
 
What Are The New Developments In Shea Butter – In Terms Of Marketing?
Firstly, Godwin says, “Nigeria is the leading producer of Shea Butter in the world with the production capacity of about 500,000 metric tons, which is usually produced from the crude – the resources from the crude is yet to be fully realized in terms of processing and export of the Shea Butter.
 
“Unlike other agricultural commodities like ginger, sesames seeds, peanuts, among others whose export potentials are well known. But the export of Shea Butter is not well known, hence the need for it to be well developed.
 
“Meanwhile, a good thing about Shea Butter is that there are a lot of benefits and I must tell you that there is an Institute of Shea Butter in California, as there are lots of things Shea Butter can be used for. So, they have to set up this Institute with a view to catering for the rising need of the commodity and to maximize the benefits. “
 
“Unfortunately”, Olubukola says, “There isn’t much development in Nigeria as lots of meetings have been held without much action, even the JICE, a government company in Japan that assists on the development had tried in assisting and training women on the proper way of processing Shea Butter.
 
“Two things are happening to Nigerian Shea Butter, Nigeria is producing about 50 percent of the Shea nut in the West African Coast, but a lot of smuggling is going on into Benin Republic, Mali, and other countries. Even the quantity assigned to those countries, probably comes from Nigeria and it is smuggled out because there isn’t a proper structure in place.
 
“Meanwhile, what I can confirm is that our Shea Butter is in high demand and it is a wonderful product. This is owing to the fact that women are recently going back to natural hair, it is very good for the skin and can cure any stubborn skin ailment.
 
“To buttress my point, a nephew of mine came from England with his son, a boy of less than one year. Looking at the skin of the boy, it looks dry. So, as they were going back I gave him the Shea Butter and the skin ailment was cured – that is how all the family members of his wife living in England and beyond began to request for Shea Butter.
 
“It is just that much interest has been shown in the sector so that the local women can improve the quality of the Shea Butter, as the best quality and most valued Shea Butter is the handmade one which is used for cosmetics abroad.”
 
In Terms Of Its Uses
Godwin says, “Shea Butter can be used in the cosmetics industry and now there is legislation in the United States of America that says no cosmetics industry should produce any cream without the inclusion of Shea Butter. This means that there is a development in terms of setting up a big market, which can constitute about 20 to 25 percent of the Nigerian GDP if well utilized and exploited.
 
“You can use it to cure lots of skin diseases, like Eczema, burn, rashes, stretch marks, skin discolouring, and also for natural protection from the sun; to moisturize dry hair. So, the recent development here is that this product is in high demand because of the uses. If Nigerians can actually tap into this agro business in terms of mobilizing the local producers, it will do a lot of help in giving Nigerians lots of revenue.”
 
Olubukola also says, “Shea Butter is used in the cosmetics industry, it is good for hair, it is an active agent in curing any skin ailment; it is used as oil in areas where it is produced and the Shea nut tree itself is highly valuable.”
 
What Is The Main Interest For Going Into Shea Butter Business?
Olubukola says, “The main interest for Nigerians is in terms of value, a product that can earn money. Another one is that it can be processed here in Nigeria into cream, as some Nigerian cosmetic industries are using it for cream.”
 
Where Can Shea Nut/Shea Butter Be Gotten From?
Without wasting words, Godwin highlights that Shea Butter produce can be gotten from Kogi State, Kwara State, Kebi State, Nasarawa State, Niger State, and Oyo State, particularly from Iseyin. He says, “I’m surprised that some Governors claim they cannot pay workers’ salaries and others are talking about slashing of salary or sacking of workers when they can make lots of money from Shea Butter. The harvest period of Shea nut that produces Shea Butter is between May and September.”
 
What Is The Profit Potential Of The Business?
Godwin says, “In the international market, Shea Butter is sold for about $10 to $12 per kilo, while in Nigeria it can be sold for about N1,600. By calculation, a dollar is N200 plus, so you will be making a good profit – about 35 percent return on investment, so to say. This tells us that this Shea Butter business which Nigerians are yet to look at is lucrative.”
 
Olubukola narrates, “According to report, the value of the Nigerian export Shea nut is high, but the quantity being exported from Nigeria is low compared to the ones smuggled across the continent. This is owing to the fact that we are not profiting in it as we ought to, as we are the largest producer of the product in the West African Coast. Well, the profit potential is high in terms of the Shea nut and the exportation of the butter. Ghana is making lots of money from it, but Nigeria as of today isn’t making enough money.
 
“While I was with the Raw Material Research and Development Council, I made some proposals, as we tried to design a programme that we believed that if executed will deal with the totality of the sector – hence, our suggestions.
 
“Firstly, efforts must be made to collect all the Shea nuts. Now, the Shea nut tree in Nigeria is still in the wild forests and not easy to cultivate, but in Ghana they have made progress along that line because their Cocoa Research Institute is also looking at Shea nut trees.
 
“Secondly, efforts should be made to ensure that when collected, it is properly sorted out, processed and dried under supervision. This is because one of the problems Shea Butter is having all over the world is that when harvested they have high tendency for fungi infections, which makes it to go bad easily if it is not properly processed and dried. But when it is properly dried, it can last for a long time.
 
“Thirdly, we suggested that the local producers (women), who have already been in informal clusters, should be transformed into formal cooperatives. This makes it easy for the women to get trained and be supported. One of the greatest challenges they face is water as a lot of water is needed for the processing. Therefore, because there is no adequate supply of water, the women make use of the same water over and over again. In a nut shell, this is what makes the Shea Butter bad, as it will smell, the colour will not be attractive, and it will be highly contaminated.
 
How Lucrative Is The Business?
Godwin confesses that Shea Butter production is much more lucrative than many agric products. He explains, “This is in the sense that, if cocoa is expensive in the international market, the chocolate industry buys Shea Butter as a binder – that is the reason when you eat chocolate, you will feel a kind of mellow in your mouth. This is because Shea Butter is added to it, as Shea Butter can be eaten directly, and the innovative research I just did shows that if you have a mosquito bite and your skin is swollen up a bit, just put Shea Butter on it; immediately, it will neutralize it, even within five minutes.
 
“That is to say it is also much more highly medicinal. You have two things here that buyers in the international market are looking for - either the Shea nut or the Shea Butter, which comes from the Shea nut. Basically, you can actually make a fortune from Shea nuts.”
 
Olubukola also agrees that Shea Butter is highly lucrative, in the sense that there are people exporting Shea nut in large volume, mainly to Japan and Europe. However, it isn’t as lucrative as it should be because the whole sector is not properly structured and most of the producers are rural women – government need to make concerted efforts to source market for them. Though, some of the Shea Butter is being exported, but the volume is very small. I must tell you, the demand for Shea Butter is now increasing and it is getting more expensive. The women can’t access the market unless someone goes to them to buy.
 
To be more lucrative, the production method should be improved across the board – Niger State is really making effort as regards production methods and markets. Governments should be highly involved in the production of Shea Butter as regards the provision of infrastructure, as it is being done in Ghana – they introduced solar dryer instead of exposing it to the sun, which improves the quality; they taught the local producers good processing mechanism.
 
Who Are The Buyers Of Shea Nuts?
Godwin says, “The buyers of Shea nuts in the international market are basically Denmark, Sweden, United Kingdom, and France. In this wise, Denmark and UK each demands about 20,000 metric tons, while Sweden demands about 10,000 metric tons. So, that is a lot of money, if only one can catch in on that.
 
“Now, the price of Shea nut in the international market is about $350 per metric tons. So, you can see that Shea nut and Shea Butter’s export strength is very high and intact. It is from Shea nut that we will go to Shea Butter, as it is either you send the Shea nut or you produce it into Shea Butter to get additional money – double profit, so to say.
 
What Is The Standard Requirement For Export Shea Nut?
Godwin confirms that standard is very important in the manufacturing sector – you recently know that some commodities were banned by the European Union because they lack standard. So, the internationally required specification for exporting Shea nut is as follows: it has to be six percent free fatty acid; moisture content is seven percent, oil content is 45 percent, and the lactose content is between 4 to 10 percent.
 
Who Are The Major Buyers Of Shea Butter In The International Market?
Godwin says, “The major buyer of Shea Butter in the international market is Japan. In fact, there is a very good research now that shows Japan ordering and demanding a very large quantity from Nigeria, if we can supply. So, the development is just about the government having a policy statement, because it is a good market if the government can go into it. Anybody who goes into this area has nothing to be afraid of because he or she will always make it.”
 
Olubukola also says, “Apart from the ready local market, the export market is equally high if well harnessed. From my best knowledge, there is a ready market in Japan. The Joint International Corporation Agency of Japan requested that instead of just shipping the nut or butter, we should process it further into soap or cream. If you care to know, the Asiatic and the oriental regions of the world prefer natural things, and even in the US, there is a company called Body Shop with very good brands all over the world, there you can find Shea Butter.
 
What Are The Processes Of Producing Shea Butter?
Godwin says, “If you want to do Shea Butter, there is a standard you must strictly adhere to and as earlier said, it is used as cooking oil, used in the production of chocolate, candle, moisturizer in the cosmetics industry, to maintain hair moisturization, and in the treatment of skin disorder to smoothen it.
 
“Now, from the Shea tree, you get the Shea nut from which you get the Shea Butter. Shea Butter comes in different grades – from grade A to F; when it passes through the laboratory analysis, the grade is determined by the presence or the absence of various nutrients.
 
“Grade A is the highest and the best quality for cosmetics and personal industry. Grade F is the lowest because it is missing most of the valuable nutrients – the highest grades are awarded to those butters with the largest bio-active fraction, which is about five percent and above. So, what that means is that the grade F is usually regarded as the crude one – even if you look at it from the laboratory perspective, the crude is not good for consumption, as it has to be refined. In a nut shell, it is from the grade F that you see a lot of products coming out.
 
“Now, you have to make sure the nut is washed and dried, after which you take it to the grinder to be ground and you allow staying to the next day. After this, you will begin to process it. During processing, you are going to be adding water and removing it. During the process of blanching, from brownish colour, it turns white and you have to fry it, which turns it to oil in the process. So, in the oil process you get a brownish object which must be totally removed to get a clean cloth, streamed and left for the next day and you finally get the Shea Butter.”
 
Olubukola also states, “When the Shea nut, which has a sweet back is matured, it will be collected from the tree “Igi Emi,” after which you boil the pulp with a view to stopping the fatty acid. Today, the Malians have made jam out of the pulp and they are now exporting the jam. The next step is drying the fruit and cracking the shell so as to get the seed, which is Shea nut. You have to dry the seed again and crush it by pounding or using a crusher.
 
“Something very important to note is the reason some Nigerian Shea Butter, especially the one from Kwara is not too good is that they roast the nut with the use of a traditional pot before crushing. This allows the smell of smoke on the seed, which also affect the colour. But unlike the Ghanaian method, they crush before roasting and they use a sort of rotating drum to roast.
 
“After this, you mill the crushed nut to a paste form and that paste is mixed together using hands, it thereafter becomes somehow thick. This substance is now poured into water to allow it to flow on the water and the foam like substance that results will be packed and boiled on fire simply to prevent contamination. After this, the oil you get during boiling is collected, sheaved and it will be left to settle. So, the more it gets cooler, the thicker it becomes and it will be mixed with hand to look like butter.
 
“So, you could see that a lot of water is needed alongside the simple technological instruments like miller, crusher, and the cylindrical pots used in Ghana so as to improve on the quality.”  
 
What Is The Prospect Of The Business/Areas People Can Focus In 2016?
Godwin reassures that Shea Butter is a very good business because it is selling well in Europe. He says, “As an exporter who wants to go into the business, one very important thing that must be done is to have effective training. You have to be trained in the ways of producing it. It is not that you might be the one to be producing it, but it is good you have the knowledge. This is because if you go to the market, you will discover a lot of colours – you will see off-white, white, brown and lots of other colours. This is as a result of the production process not well done. Meanwhile, the normal colour that is accepted in the international market is usually butter colour.
 
“Another thing is that there are buyers for the product. For instance, as an exporter, whenever I go to trade mission in various countries, the demand for the product is tremendous. Recently, I was in Uruguay and Brazil for trade mission and I must tell you that there are lots of black people with African root in Brazil and if you see a lot of things Shea Butter is used for there, you will be amazed. So, it is a good market to exploit in 2016 and I bet you will have nothing to lose - what you just need to do is either you export it raw or you process it.”
 
Olubukola says, “Some can decide to concentrate on the exportation of the Shea nut, but the quality of the nut must be ascertained, as the bad nuts coming out of Nigeria has given her a bad name. One of the specifications Shea nut is tested of is saturated fatty acid, because the oil is used as a substitute for cocoa butter in confectionary companies.”
 
Is There Other Ways Value Can Be Added To Shea Butter?
Godwin says, “Another way I will want to talk about is in the area of packaging. Something about Nigerians is that they just want something that can bring quick money. It has to be well produced, you make sure that the packaging and design is outstanding and once these two things are there, I think and I believe your product will fly.”
 
Olubukola says, “The way and manner Shea Butter is packaged can add value to the product, this is apart from what it can be used for. As earlier mentioned, Shea nut can be processed to butter, which can also be further processed into some other valuable commodities like creams and other cosmetics products, even for the coming harmattan season.
 
“Now, about the packaging aspect, some cosmetics industries approach the rural women to buy Shea Butter and then package them into containers. But if it is to be displayed in a shop, or it is for export, you have to think of attractive packaging means.”
 
What Prompted You Into Shea Butter Exportation?
Godwin says, “Any business you want to go into, you must look at the prospect. Shea Butter business is a business that will never die because it has a lot of uses in over five sectors of the economy; including production and agro allied industries have a huge demand for the product. Definitely, as an average business person who is into export, I will want to go into it.”
 
What Have Been Your Achievements In The Business?
Godwin submits, “As a company, God has really helped us to some notable achievements in the areas of training Nigerians and seriously getting others to know about this business. If I may tell you, results are flowing in our way. But what we intend going into now is the production of the product itself instead of just exporting the crude. We will be setting up an industry that will produce Shea Butter and sell directly to the international market.”
 
Will You Start The Production By Planting The Tree?
Godwin emphasizes the fact that you don’t need to plant the tree before you start producing or processing Shea Butter. The trees have always been there in all the aforementioned states, which come out in due season and you just have to pluck the fruit and the seed therein.
 
Your Advice To New Entrants
Godwin says, “My advice is that anything that has to do with agriculture should be given attention to by Nigerians and even the government. Now, we are looking at the direction of oil, but the revenue from it is depleting every day. The only way government can make impact and progress is to diversify into agriculture and Shea Butter is an agricultural based industry. Government can assist farmers by providing new hybrid seeds that will speed up the process of growth and will give better product base.
 
“People should go into agriculture because it can never die – in the sixties and seventies with agriculture, the old Western Region did a whole lot of things. So, if we can go back to agriculture, we will have nothing to regret.”
 
Olubukola also advises, “If you want to start producing or exporting Shea Butter, you have to dwell strictly on quality and you have to think of where you can get the Shea nuts that can meet up with the required standards.

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