Palm wine is one of the very few alcoholic beverage drinks with very high nutritional benefits. The fact that it is tapped from nature, and can be consumed without industrial processing endears it to many people in several parts of the world.
The natural drink is derived from the sap of different species of palm trees including the Raffia palm, date palm and Palmyra. It is known by different names in different parts of the world. In India, it is known as toddy; among the Igbos and Yorubas in Nigeria, it is called ‘nkwu’ and ’emu’ respectively or more commonly as ‘pami’. In Cameroon, it is called tumbu liquor or matango, and so on. Palm wine holds lots of significance in many African cultures. Although new technologies are made to extend the shelf life of palm wine to make it exportable, palm wine is still rather consumed locally in nations where they are produced.
No particular place can be credited as the origin of palm wine, but it is produced in countries rich in oil palm trees including Sri Lanka, India, Southern America, the Philippines, Malaysia, and more pronounced in African countries such as Nigeria, Angola, DR Congo, Ghana, Sierra Leone and Cameroon.
Nigeria remains one of the largest producers and consumers of palm wine globally. Over 2 million metric tons of palm wine are locally produced and consumed each year. Despite the fact that it doesn’t get the government’s attention, palm wine remains on high demand in Nigeria. It is the preferred drink in local traditional events, including weddings and funerals. In addition to special occasions, every passing night, palm wine lovers gulp down the beverage drink in local bars and palm wine joints both in towns and villages. The drink, which contains only 4% alcohol, is consumed both by men and women, but in various quantities, and continues to grow in demand.
Palm wine production business could be a highly lucrative endeavour if given the required attention and it is a fertile business venture for an interested businessperson. If you’re looking to start a palm wine production business in Nigeria or Africa at large, here is a detailed step-by-step guide to help you through.
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What Is Palm Wine?
Palm wine is the tasty beverage drink derived from the sap of palm trees. It is white and could give off a sweet and sour taste after fermentation. Palm wine can be consumed both at home and outside, or even on special events. It is often combined with barbecue, or stewed meat, locally called ‘asun’ in Western Nigeria. Whereas most people prefer to have their palm wine unmixed, some others mix it with beer.
What Is Palm Wine Production?
Palm wine production describes the process of tapping, processing and packaging palm wine for sale. In most parts of Nigeria, the local palm wine tappers deliver their products to the retailers, typically palm wine joints and local bars.
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Business Opportunities In Palm Wine Production Business In Nigeria And Around The World
1). Beverage Drinks Production:
Palm wine contains 4% of alcohol, which is more than the 1.2% content needed to approve a beverage as having health benefits. Notwithstanding, it has been argued that palm wine has lots of health benefits to it. Also, palm wine is processed into vintage drinks sold globally. This leaves an opportunity window for beverage-producing companies to exploit. Although palm wine in itself has quick perishability, it can be further fermented and processed into bottled wine and drinks that last longer.
2). Sales And Distribution:
Selling and distributing palm wine in its original form is another business opportunity to capitalize on. Local palm wine tappers often have limited access to consumers. This is where distributors and retailers come in. Most palm wine business owners simply retail it to their customers at their bars and joints in towns just by being the intermediaries between the tappers and the consumers. After buying large volumes (in gallons) from the tappers, they store, preserve and retail the palm wine in smaller units.
Facts And Benefits Of Palm Wine
Although much of the benefits that people believe palm wine possesses have not been subjected to scientific researches, there are several other facts and nutritional benefits of palm wine that are confirmed. They include:
- Palm wine has only 4% alcohol
- It contains acetic acid, lactic acid and yeasts which are all helpful for the body.
- Palm wine is a core part of traditional marriages in many parts of Africa.
- It contains Vitamin B and C, which aid clear eye vision.
- Palm wine is rich in amino acids which help to build body tissues.
- In some cultures, palm wine is applied to the skin to treat rashes.
- It improves heart health, thanks to its Potassium content.
- Palm wine contains Vitamin B2 and several other antioxidants that fight cancer cells.
- Palm wine is not alcoholic until it is fermented.
- Locals believe that palm wine improves milk production in nursing mothers.
- Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Nigeria and Columbia are some of the biggest producers of oil palm trees in Nigeria.
- Akwa-Ibom, Abia, Rivers, Edo, Imo, Ondo, Bayelsa, Cross River and Delta are the biggest producers of oil palm products and palm wine in Nigeria.
- Palm wine is also believed to treat malaria.
- The sugar constituent of palm sap is used for making coconut honey.
- Palm wine is combined with other herbs to produce medicine for stomach upset.
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Types Of Palm Wine
Palm wine is essentially palm wine, but it can be sourced from different trees, and, as a result, the taste differs. These varieties are:
1). Palm Wine Sourced From Oil Palm Tree:
The oil palm tree (Elaeis guineensis) is a major source of palm wine. The wine derived from it is the common variety found in most parts of Nigeria, but because the trees are tall, they’re difficult to tap and are tapped only by experts.
2). Palm Wine Sourced From The Raffia Palm:
The raffia palm tree (Raphia sp.) is shorter and easier to tap. The wine gotten from it is caller ‘Nkwu ocha’ in the southeastern part of Nigeria. This is the variety used mostly at social events. It has a low level of alcohol and is very sweet.
3). Down-Wine Sourced From Felled Palm Trees:
Felling the palm tree before tapping the wine gives off a unique taste and variety called down-wine. It is a common practice among the Efik people of Nigeria and Ghana.
There are several other varieties derived from dates palm trees, the stem of oil palm trees, as well as the buds of the coconut palm. The distillation methods vary in many parts of the world, and the wine varieties are called by different names.
How To Start A Palm Wine Business In Nigeria: Step-By-Step Guide:
1). Get A Business Site:
To start a lucrative palm wine business, you need to set up a site where you can sell. The choice of location depends on whether you just want to package and distribute or you want to sell directly to consumers in bits. If you plan to own a place of your own, perhaps a wine parlour or a joint, ensure it is at the centre of activities where people can quickly locate you. Otherwise, you may reach an agreement with a hotel or general relaxation centre to sell on their premises.
2). Network With Palm Wine Tappers:
This is a way of saying you don’t necessarily have to be the tapper. Even if you can, you would need more hands to boost your production. Otherwise, you should network with expert tappers who can ferment and retain the excellent taste of the palm wine.
3). Add Extra Supplements:
If you own a joint or wine parlour of your own, it is necessary to add something extra to the palm wine. Bear in mind that people come to drink palm wine to relax. They also like to combine the wine with edibles such as barbecue or pepper soup or tasty cowhides (kponmo). To help your customers relax properly, you could set up a sound system on the background.
4). Package And Distribute:
If you do not intend to run a wine parlour, you could as well brand and package your palm wine and distribute to retailers and directly to consumers using marketers and salespersons.
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Challenges Of Palm Wine Business In Nigeria
- Palm wine has a very short shelf life
- Lack of research on the benefits of palm wine
- Palm wine could intoxicate if taken in excess
- Lack of support from the government
- Tapping palm wine requires a lot of expertise
- Irregularity in production rates
- Absence of mechanism to aid tapping
- Lack of preservation methods to extend the shelf life of palm wine
- Start-up capital might be high especially if you plan to start a wine parlour
- High risks of loss
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To Sum It Up
The palm wine market in Nigeria continues to grow as more nutritional benefits are discovered. More so, the sweet taste of palm wine advertises itself, and keeps people coming back for it. All you have to do is invest in the right quality of palm wine as well as a good business site, and you’re bound to make your profits every day!
The palm wine production business in Nigeria can be a lucrative and profitable venture to start-up, due to its vast market demand and on your ability to build a wide sales network. If you’re looking for a lucrative business to venture into, the palm wine production business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.
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