Hibiscus flower in Nigeria

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Apart from hydrocarbon, Nigeria has comparative advantage in the Agricultural sector where a variety of products are produced due to the favorable climatic condition, good soil condition and the fact that over 70% of the entire land mass of the country is arable.

One of such product that is been produced in Nigeria is Hibiscus flower. They are multi colored, varied and an annual herb cultivated for its leaves, stem, seed and calyces, there are about 200 species of hibiscus are known to exist, and each species has its own unique kind of flower. It grows nearly throughout the year, though its peak production is during the dry season of November to April of the following year.

Dried hibiscus flower are used in the production of hibiscus tea. Hibiscus tea is a caffeine free herbal tea from a special type of hibiscus, called Roselle, the scientific name is Hibiscus sabdarrifa. Specifically, the tea is made out of the dried fruit part of Roselle, called calyx. It is red color and tastes like berries.

Dried Hibiscus flower grows in various States of Nigeria including Kano, Katsina, Jigawa, Bauchi and Maiduguri States. It is a medicinal herb and health food product used in the production of tea.

The primary import markets for the dried calyx of hibiscus sabdariffa are the United States and Germany. England is not a regular importer of the product as imported herbal tea from Germany satisfies most market demand. There are no statistics for the volume and value of dried hibiscus imported into these markets

The major clients for hibiscus importers are herbal tea manufacturers as the dried calyx is used as part of the base for most herbal teas along with apple peel, orange peel and lemon twist.

Hibiscus is available from Thailand, Sudan, China, Mexico, and various other smaller producing nations including Nigeria, Egypt, Senegal, Tanzania, Mali, and Jamaica. China is the dominant supplier to the US according to importers surveyed. Thailand, Mexico and Egypt supply smaller amounts of hibiscus. The preference is for Sudanese product, but the US trade embargo on the Sudan has forced importers to source Sudanese product via Germany and at a considerable mark-up.

Sudan dominates the German import market. German herbal tea manufacturers consider Sudanese hibiscus to have the perfect color blend and taste for herbal tea bases, but also source hibiscus from China and Thailand and much smaller quantities from Egypt and Mexico.

The return on investment on the export of dried hibiscus flower is estimated between 10%- 15% per transaction.

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