Last updated on October 13th, 2022 at 06:18 pm
Bitter kola is a plant that is found in West Africa because of its medicinal values, and hundreds of farmers have realised that the plant also have economic values, in this guide, we simplified the process of finding genuine international buyers for your garcinia kola
- Botanical name: Garcinia kola
- Family: Clusiaceae
- Hausa name: Cida-goro
- Yoruba name: Orogbo
- Igbo: Oji igbo
On a large scale, you need three important licences, they are:
- Certificate of incorporation from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC)
- Phytosanitary Certificate which is issued by the Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Service (NAQS) licence, NASQS is one of the agencies the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.
- Export Licence from Nigerian Export and Promotion Council (NEPC)
It is a species of flowering plant in the Clusiaceae family and is about the size of a chestnut. The fruits, packed with caffeine, are bitter in the mouth when chewed fresh.
In Nigeria, major tribes have local names they call these fruits. For instance, the Yoruba people refer to it as Orogbo.
Bitter Kola is really of great value and comes with several natural benefits. While it is in great demand in many developed countries including Britain, France, Germany, the United States of America, Japan and China, a very large chunk of the fruits are consumed locally.
Bitter Kola is utilized as a raw material for the production of drugs in pharmaceutical industries, apart from serving food purposes.
It is used to make soft drinks and also serve as an alternative for hops in brewing lager beer. Also, these fruits are used to make herbal drugs that promote wellness.
The discovered health benefits of these fruits have made it an important product even on the international market. It contains nutrients that can be useful in the treatment of cough, tuberculosis, diarrhoea, etc.
It can help secure the respiratory system, boost one’s immune system, increase heart rate, and even boost metabolism.
They are majorly available in the market between March to November.
It is utilized for different purposes around the world. In many African traditional societies, it is chewed during naming ceremonies to bless a newborn child.
Many developed countries utilize them as flavouring agents, as well as being crushed into powder for medicinal purposes.
Smart Africans have been silently making lots of money exporting bitter kola to developed countries. It is a lucrative business that anyone can take advantage of, as the market is still expanding.
Is it an export commodity?
Although a large chunk of bitter kola produced in the country is consumed locally, it is an export commodity that is in great demand in developed countries.
However, if you are exporting them from Nigeria, it has to meet certain crucial export standards. Hence, processing may be required.
It is important to know that dealing with this as a business is not strenuous. You can decide to conduct the processing naturally without having to use any machinery.
Bitter kola is not fragile nor is it a perishable product. Hence, anyone can start the business of exporting these fruits on a small scale level.
However, suppliers with a huge budget can make more money from this venture. If you want to start the business of exporting bitter kola, you will likely earn more with a huge investment (although you can always start with the little you have).
The products are usually exported via air cargo. With this, the products can get to the buyers as soon as possible, to prevent them from losing quality.
Nigeria’s competitors in bitter kola nuts production are:
- Sierra Leone,
- Ivory Coast,
- Democratic Republic of the Congo,
- Benin Republic
Bitter Kola Producing States In Nigeria
Bitter kola is majorly sourced from the southern part of Nigeria. You can get them in the following states:
- Imo State.
Market Value Of Bitter Kola
In 2016, a kilogram of bitter kola was between NGN650 to NGN800, that has changed. A kilogram of bitter kola in Nigeria is currently between NGN7,000 to NGN8,000 Bitter Kola In Nigeria. It’s between $20 to $25 per kg at the international market.
However, the price keeps changing. Demand and supply play a major role in its market value. Hence, ensure you are always up-to-date with current prices.
From the point of harvesting, till it’s time to be packaged for export, the bitter kola should be kept fresh and pleasant looking. It is one of the products Africans can export to America via the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
The product is usually required in two variants on the global market. It can be either fresh or dried. However, it has been noted that many buyers would prefer getting them dried.
This means, if you want to do very fine here, you should know how to appropriately carry out the drying – where the taste and colour of the fruits won’t be altered. This is a skill you should be familiar with as an exporter of bitter kola.
You can achieve this using different techniques. It can simply sun dry the fruits, natural drying, or even mechanical drying.
While many locals are familiar with the sun drying method, you should know that it is below international standard and should be avoided if you want your products to fly on the global market.
If you don’t have the money yet for drying machines to engage the mechanical drying method, you can simply opt for the natural drying method.
One of the reasons this is preferable is because it won’t lose its colour in the drying process. To use this process, simply spread the fruits on the floor of a room and ensure you don’t allow sun or rain to touch them.
After four or five days, it should be cool for export. The moisture content would have been reduced appropriately and you won’t have to alter its colour.
If you can afford to buy a drying machine, you can get things done faster and easier. But this is especially for those who have the budget for machinery.
Note that there are some of these machines which are locally made, and are cheaper than the ones imported from abroad. You can opt for any that you can afford. They are more effective and efficient.
As for the packaging of the bitter kola to be exported, there are currently no rigid packaging methods. This is majorly determined by the quantity of the fruits to be exported. You can however use the type of sacks used for packaging rice (which are easy to get).
This is recommended because it will allow air to gain access into the bag even while on transit. However, you can always discuss with your buyer the type of packaging they want.
Remember, you are dealing with an international market where quality is given great priority. You have to ensure the good quality of your products. Things like dirt and stones should not be found in your product.
How To Find Foreign Buyers For Bitter Kola
There are two major ways to find international buyers for your bitter kola, they are:
- Using Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketplaces
- Designing a business product blog
Using Business-to-Business (B2B) Marketplaces
The first step to take when sourcing international buyers for butter kola as a seller in Nigeria is to search for the list of countries that import garcinia kola.
Head straight to tridge.com
Click on the “supplier directory” which also displays buyers
You can jolt the country of operation of the foreign buyers
Now that you’ve gotten where to find international buyers for your bitter kola product, it’s time to embark on another search
This time, narrow your search to the specific country where buyers located
Search for buyers.
Some of the global platforms to find buyers are premium for you to get the best and most useful data. Some of them hide the contact details of buyers unless you upgrade your subscription.
Another way to find international buyers for bitter kola is to run a check on go4WorldBusiness, then click on “find buyers” you will find buyers from the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- United States
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
You can filter by the location you jolted in the above guide.
Don’t forget that bitter cola is known by different names around the world. When you find buyers, you should consider reaching out to them.
Another strategic way to consider in your search is to focus on the countries that have a huge number of people interested in organic products.
Most times, there are buyers in countries that appreciate organic products, reach out to them as a bitter kola supplier from Nigeria.
Caution: Check the rating and review of a buyer and reach out to the B2B platforms if they provide escrow service. This way, you will be saved from any form of scam.
Bear in mind that most foreign purchasers prefer to deal with a duly registered business or company. As such, it’s important to register your company with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
Then register with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to obtain an export licence and don’t forget to register with the appropriate government agencies that deal in agricultural products and certification.
Designing a business product blog
As a small scale seller, you list your products on your business blog, when you find buyers, you can send an order through courier.
Some bad boys have infected export businesses with their fraudulent behaviour, hence it may be challenging to find international buyers by just launching a website and expecting to start selling right off.
Your best bet will still be to utilize online portals that connect international buyers and sellers. You can take advantage of social media networks like Facebook and Twitter and B2B marketplaces.
When you get international buyers who are interested in getting your products, ensure you pay attention to details of what they are after.
Know their delivery time, payment terms, and so on. Also, don’t forget that if you can satisfy a buyer at first, they can form a long-lasting business relationship with you, which will be beneficial to you.
It should also be added that the recognized international unit of measurement which is used in export, even of bitter kola, is Ton. It is a total of 1000kg weight of your bitter kola.
We’ve talked about getting buyers and how to package your product to meet international standards, so…
What Are The Benefits Of Bitter Kola?
Researchers have discovered several health benefits of bitter kola, and we shouldn’t be surprised to see more medical researchers come up with fact-based discoveries in the future. And of course, Dan Brennan, a medical doctor in a publication on WebMD highlighted some health benefits of bitter kola.
Below are some of them:
These nuts are rich in caffeine, hence can stimulate the body. It contains nutrients that can increase the heart rate and can be beneficial to those with a slow metabolism. In a moderate dose, it is beneficial for heart health.
These fruits can help boost oxygenation to some important parts of the body, such as the brain. This is possible as it contains nutrients that stimulate heart rate and increase circulation.
As they are used in a moderate dose, they can help with attaining higher levels of cognition and concentration, since they bring about increased levels of oxygen in the brain. Another benefit or result of this is that hastens the healing of wounds.
These fruits have been utilized for many years now for the treatment of digestive problems. Kola can help reduce bloating, constipation and also cramping. It’s a natural solution that is very cool.
There have been talks that these fruits have nutrients that can stimulate apoptosis in prostate cancer cells. While researchers are still carrying out findings in this line, it is amazing to know that this fruit could be as useful for important things like this.
Immune System Booster
The fruits come with nutrients that can prevent certain bacterial infections in the body. It’s amazing how these fruits can help prevent common illnesses. The stronger your immune system, the lesser your chance of falling sick.
Extracts from this fruit have been linked with increased fat burning in the body. Generally, caffeine is known as an appetite suppressant, and it can contribute to weight loss.
Finally, these fruits are popularly known for their caffeine (a stimulant that’s usually found in soft drinks and coffee). They also contain theobromine, and crude fat, and are rich in magnesium, calcium and potassium. However, as with every day, moderation is vital, since it could be dangerous when taken in large quantities by someone suffering from high blood pressure.
Interestingly, one doesn’t have to be so rich before starting bitter kola exporting business, the major challenge may be how to get foreign buyers, but with this guide, finding buyers has been simplified.
If you are yet to read our complete guide on sesame farming in Nigeria, don’t forget to check it out on one of our pages.
- Featured image by The Guardian Newspaper
- Ojedokun,I.K., Adetunji, M.O (November 2019). “Economic Analysis of Bitter Kola Marketing in Osun State, Nigeria”. rsisinternational.org. Retrieved February 7, 2022
- Brennan, Dan (August 22, 2020). “Health Benefits of Bitter Kola” WebMD.com. Retrieved February 7, 2022