The natural ingredients industry encompasses an extended value chain that has the potential of creating innumerable direct and indirect employment opportunities and uplifting entire communities. The value chain comprises propagation, cultivation, commercial and wild harvesting, processing and value-adding, testing, formulation, packaging, labelling, marketing and exporting.
These primary, secondary and tertiary agricultural activities require a plethora of product and service providers across the value chain such as nurseries, organic products, irrigation equipment, presses and distillation pots, laboratories, certification bodies, project implementation agencies, financial services, logistical services, training and other consultants, and freight forwarders, to name but a few.
While essential and vegetable oils offer an attractive alternative to established commercial farmers, it is eminently suited for cultivation and processing in remote rural areas, be it by means of co-operatives or individual farmers. It is relatively easy to cultivate, is labour intensive, has a wide scope of value-adding opportunities, and it enjoys a ready local and international market due to the consistent increase in global demand for these products.
In addition to having real potential to boost gross geographical product, the prospect of exports are readily achievable, provided the discerning market’s requirements are met in terms of consistent and proven supply and quality, and meeting the destination country’s applicable legislation and regulations.