Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Product Profiles: Shea Butter

Description: Shea butter is a slightly yellowish or ivory colored natural fat extracted from the seed of the African shea tree by crushing and boiling. It is widely used in cosmetics as a moisturizer and salve. Shea nuts are primarily grown in West and Central Africa in the semi-arid Sahel,referred to by traders as the "Shea Belt". Vitellaria paradoxa and Vitellaria nilotica are the two main varieties. Vitellaria paradoxa is exported in the largest volume and grows throughout the West African region. Vitellaria nilotica is produced primarily in northern Uganda and southern Sudan. Shea nut products, the solid fat (butter or stearin) and the liquid oil (olein), are ideal for use as raw materials in cooking oil, margarine, cosmetics, soap, detergents and candles, but it has found its primary market niche as a substitute for cocoa butter in the chocolate and confectionery industry.

HarvestShea nut trees grow widely and naturally in West Africa. They only begin to bear fruit after about 20 years and do not reach maturity for 45 years. They may continue to produce nuts for up to 200 years after reaching maturity.  The nuts, which are embedded in a soft fruit, fall to the ground during the harvesting period (typically June through August). They are then buried in pits which cause the pulp to ferment and disintegrate and produce enough heat to prevent germination. The nuts are dried for a few days and are later shelled and winnowed, usually by hand. The kernels are dried further to reduce moisture content from about 40 percent to about 7 percent.

Locations: Sheanut grows in the wild across the Sudan-Sahelian region of Africa. The major producing countries are: Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana, Uganda, Mali, Burkina Faso and Central African Republic. Nigeria is currently the leading producer of Sheanut in the world and in 2004 Nigeria's production of the commodity was 414,000 metric tonnes with export value of US$61.04 million (Source: FAO).  Shea butter is produced in Kwara State at Ode-Giwa in the Asa Local Government are and also in Minna area of Niger state in Nigeria. Other states include kogi, Oyo and Ogun state.

Shea butter is graded based on a number of factors. For some buyers, It could be based on the percentage of the expected vital constituents present in the sample while some other buyers use the level of refining and contamination present as their criteria. Based on the percentage of the expected vital constituents present, Shea butter can be graded as shown in the table below;

Based on the level of refining done and contamination present, shea butter is now classified into five grades: A (raw or unrefined, extracted using water), B (refined), C (highly refined and extracted with solvents such as hexane), D (lowest uncontaminated grade), E (with contaminants). Commercial grades are A, B, C. The color of raw (grade A) butter ranges from cream (like whipped butter) to grayish yellow, and it has a nutty aroma which is removed in the other grades. Grade C is pure white. Grade A retains the most natural vitamins, especially vitamin A and vitamin E, which are partially lost in the other grades.

Traditionally, African shea butter is used for cooking oil, as a water proofing wax, for hairdressing and for candle-making; and also as an ingredient of medicinal ointments.

Industrially, shea butter is used in cosmetics production, such as moisturizer creams and emulsion, and hair conditioners for dry and brittle hair. It is also used by soap makers, typically in small amounts (5-7% of the oils in the recipe), because of its property of leaving a small amount of oil in the soap. Shea butter is also used as an ingredient in chocolate fillings.

Medicinally, Shea butter is used as a base for medicinal ointments, and has been claimed to have anti-inflammatory properties emollient and humectants. Shea butter has been claimed to be effective treatment for the following conditions: fading scars, eczema, burns, rashes, severely dry skin, dark spots, skin discolorations, chapped lips, stretchmarks, wrinkles, and in lessening the irritation of psoriasis.

New Commercial Uses
·         Shea based adhesives, resins, and composites
·         Shea Plastics and compounding
·         Shea conversion into chemicals, solvents, and fuels
·         Nutritional value and characterization
·         Total utilization of shea materials for new commercial uses

Export market: Shea butter is becoming increasingly popular as an ingredient in cosmetics and soaps, especially in France and the US. Major destinations for Nigeria's Sheanut are the EU and Japan while for the shea butter are Asia, Europe and the Americas.

Export PriceBuyers in Europe and the United States are quote FOB prices ranging from USD1,500-3,000/MT depending on the quality and quantity of product ordered) for unrefined shea butter from Abidjan, Accra or Lagos packed in 20 pound dark plastic sacks or 50 kilo dark plastic containers or coated steel drums.

Local price: The local market price of Shea butter per MT ranges from NGN180,000.00 to NGN250,000.00 to deliver it to Lagos during the season.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Shea Butter Profitability and Cost Profiles

Product Profiles: Gum Arabic

Description: Gum Arabic (Acacia Senegal) Gum Acacia, also known as Gum Arabic, is a natural gum harvested from the exterior of Acacia trees in the form of dry, hard nodules up to 50 mm in diameter, and ranging from almost colourless to brown. Its unique properties endow it with a wide range of uses in food, beverage, pharmaceutical and industrial applications. There are over 1,100 Acacia species worldwide. However Acacia Senegal and Acacia Seyal are the most commercially exploited species. 
Nigeria has three grades of Gum Arabic namely: 
Acacia Senegal (grade 1) 
Acacia seyal (Grade 2)and 
Combretum (Grade 3).

The major Acacia utilized for commercial Gum Arabic production in Nigeria are Acacia Senegal and Acacia seyal. Nigeria is the 2nd largest producer of the crop in the world after Sudan with average production of 20,000 metric tonnes of all grades of Gum Arabic. In the year 2004, world production of Gum Arabic was put at 70,000 metric tonnes while Nigeria's production amounted to 18,935 metric tonnes with export earnings of US$88.08 million.
 Harvest: Gum Arabic is harvested during the dry season because during the rainy season, no gum is formed since the trees are in full bloom. The dry season lasts from October to June and the gum is collected every 10 days during this period. After collection, the gum is brought from the farms and stands to villages from there it’s transported to market

Locations: Gum Arabic is produced in about 14 States of the Federation namely Borno, Yobe, Jigawa, Bauchi, Gombe, Taraba, Plateau, Adamawa, Sokoto, Kebbi, Katsina, Zamfara, Nasarawa and Niger with an estimated population of 4 million Nigerians engaged in its cultivation and trade.


% percentage
Total Ash 
4-6% max
Acid Insoluble residue
0.4% max
Tannin Bearing Gums 
E. Coli
 Uses: Gum Arabic is used as thickener, suspender, emulsifier, stabilizer, flavour carrier, binder and encapsulating material. In addition, it is used in confectionaries, food, beverages, pharmaceuticals and chemical industries. 

Export market: The major markets for the product are: Belgium, China, USA, U.K and Japan.

Export Price     

FOB price /MT
Grade I
Grade II
Grade III

Local price: The local price of gum Arabic grade I ranges from about N170,000 to 180,000/MT in Kano. Delivery to Lagos will increase the unit price per MT by 10,000 to 20,000

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Job Offer: Admin Manager

Job Title:  Admin Manager

Main Responsibilities
  • Design the accounting process for the company. 
  • Monitors income and expense of the company and match it with the Bank account balance.
  • Carryout internal auditing of all staff from time to time. 
  • Design a Pre-Paid Expense and Expense request form to be used in the course business operations
  • Collect payment for services, issue both electronic and paper receipts and follow up on clients to collect any outstanding payment.
  • Costing of export projects and cost management in business process to maximize profit
  • Manage the the marketing and sales of 3T Impex products and services 
  • Supervising of marketers and casual workers of the company
  • Work with the Agric and Solid minerals research managers to source for samples and get  products delivered to Lagos
  • Work with Tax consultant and FIRS to ensure the filing of returns to CAC and up to date payment of taxes.
  • Weekly and monthly report of the business progress and preparation of the end of year balance sheet and profit and loss report
Core Competencies:
  • Sound knowledge of Accounting principles
  • Good knowledge sales and marketing strategies
  • Good understanding Accounting process
  • Good knowledge of book keeping and business management
  • Good understanding of product management 
  • Sound in business reporting methodology and techniques
  • Ability to work with all levels of the organisation. 
  • Excellent team player.
  • Open personality with energy and drive.
  • Motivated to succeed.
  • Ability to be flexible and work to deadlines.
  • Ability to follow procedures.
  • Maintain accurate records.
Being Proactive – Strives to stay ahead by anticipating rather than reacting; ensures that ones actions are always carefully considered.

Resilience – Have confidence in your ability to achieve ambitious goals and celebrates success; never allows oneself to become arrogant. Possess the ability to cope with rejection.

Problem Solving Style – Identifies, clarifies/defines and works through challenges towards a defined outcome.

Acting with Integrity – Lives the 3T Impex's business model based on trust and integrity as perceived by our stakeholders, especially our clients.

Personal Accountability – Takes full responsibility for ones actions and the impact that you have on others; self driven with a desire to continually grow and improve on your performance. Shows a high degree of self-motivation and ambition.

Experience Required:
At least one year of experinence Agric products related environment.
  • BSc Accounting, Business Admin or related courses
  • Fluent in English language. 
  • Good working knowledge of Microsoft products (Excel, Word, Powerpoint).
Interested candidates should  forward their applications and CV to the

Dried Split Ginger Product Profiles

Description: Ginger (Zingiber Officinale) is a commodity that is highly valued in international markets for its aroma, pungency and high oil and Aleo resin content. Nigeria is the third largest exporter of ginger in the world after China and India. Most of the dried ginger that are available for international trade are simply sun dried over a few days, but artificial drying is also used in areas lacking a defined dry season to coincide with the harvest. The rhizome is dried to between 10 and 12 per cent moisture content. Dried ginger is usually presented in a split or sliced form. Splitting is said to be preferred to slicing, as slicing loses more flavour, but the sliced are easier to grind and this is the predominant form of dried ginger currently in the market.

Harvest: harvesting of ginger starts from October and normally continues until April/May. This largely depends on the market situation as ginger can be left on the ground (not harvested) for two years.

Locations: Ginger is produced in six states of the Federation namely, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Niger and Gombe with Kaduna as the major producer. Nigeria's production in 2005 was estimated at 110,000 metric tonnes (FAO). Out of this, 10% is locally consumed as fresh ginger while 90% is dried primarily for the export markets.

Moisture content:                 6-9% max
Oil content:                            1-2%
Impurities:                             0-2%max

Uses: The list of ginger uses is almost endless, being a pungent spicy herb and one of the more popular food spices. They range from baked products like gingerbread, ginger biscuits, ginger cookies to drinks like ginger tea, ginger beer, ginger ale, etc. Ginger contains about two per cent essential oil. The oil is extracted and distilled from rhizomes for various uses in confectionery, perfumery, beverages and pharmaceuticals. Dried ginger is used predominantly for flavouring coffee especially in the Middle East. It contains medicinal qualities and it is also used to calm nausea and aids digestion. Dried ginger is used in many different cooking methods. It is an important spice in Asia, the Caribbean and African cooking.

Export market: The export markets for ginger include the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, France, United States of America, Russia, Saudi Arabia among others.

Export Price: The export free on board price of ginger ranges from USD 2500 -2600/MT depending on the type and form in which the ginger is packaged and also the negotiation made with the buyers.

Local price: The local price of of dry split ginger deliver to Lagos from kafanchan in Kaduna state varies from N270,000 and N300,000.