How To Start A Lucrative Shea Oil Production Business In Nigeria: The Complete Guide

How To Start Shea Oil Production Business In Nigeria Or Africa: The Guide
How To Start A Lucrative Shea Oil Business In Nigeria Or Africa: The Complete Guide | Image: ExportersIndia

The demand for shea nut products has increased due to recent recognition by the markets in advanced countries. Europe purchases approximately 250,000 metric tonnes of shea nut products yearly. New research has estimated the amount of shea butter used in personal care across the globe to be about 10% of the total African export. Although shea butter dominates the market, the demand for shea oil is on the rise each passing year.

The global shea butter market was worth $1.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to rise at a CAGR of about 10.5% by 2025. That same year, surveys revealed Europe as the fastest-growing regional market of Shea products, thanks to the increasing consumption of chocolate and bakery products in the region. However, after several research and surveys by experts in the same year, the conclusion that Shea products are produced mainly in West, Central, and Eastern Africa, with Nigeria at the forefront of the shea products market.

Nigeria is presently the largest producer of shea nuts in Africa, with a production figure of approximately 370,000 metric tonnes, which is estimated to be 53% of the total global output. However, only about 20,000 metric tonnes of the produce are processed into butter. This accounts for only about 2,000 metric tonnes of export rate annually, while the annual exportation of shea butter by other African countries like Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo are 76, 000 MT, 50,000 MT, 60,000 MT, and 20,000 MT respectively.

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What Is Shea Oil?

Shea oil is the oil extracted from the shea nut, which is gotten from the Shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa) grown wildly across the Sub-saharan regions of Africa. Shea butter is an edible fat or oil known by many local names such as kaɗe or kaɗanya in Hausa, Òkwùmá in Igbo, and òrí in the Yoruba language.

The uses of shea oil in most recent times are visible in the production of cosmetics, skincare and repair products, health products, and confectioneries. Shea butter can also replace other edible vegetable oils or fats in food applications.


What Is Shea Oil Production?

Shea oil production refers to the process of extracting oil from the shea nut. When raw, it is ivory in colour and turns white after processing. Thereafter, it is commonly dyed yellow with palm oil.

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Business Opportunities Associated With Shea Oil Production In Nigeria And Across The World

1). Skin Care Services:

The skin requires care, protection, hydration, and nutrients to stay fresh, healthy and look good. Shea oil is an agent for skin care, as it moisturizes, nourishes, and protects the skin, offers anti-ageing and skin regeneration. Shea is beneficial for all skin types and persons of all age range. This makes the shea oil a highly patronized product in the skincare market.

2). Hair Care Services:

Producing shea branded oil products specifically hair care is another lucrative business opportunity associated with the shea oil production business. The moisturizing properties of shea oil make it the best natural revitalization, conditioning, and nourishing agent for your hair. Shea oil protects the hair from damage caused by wind, humidity or the sun.

3). Shea Oil Products Distribution And Export Services:

In addition to manufacturing branded shea oil products, distributing and exporting shea oil makes a lucrative enterprise for both local distributors and exporters. Europe, North America and other parts of the developed world make up very ripe markets for shea products. Exporters have a field day exporting and distributing to such regions.


Facts And Benefits Of Shea Oil

  • Shea oil serves as a good massage oil.
  • Shea helps to reduce scar tissue reproduction and lightens the appearance of stretch marks.
  • It helps to reduce the appearance of wrinkles.
  • Shea oil is a magical pain reliever, including sore muscles, arthritis, cracked heels, etc.
  • Shea oil cures acne, eczema, skin allergies, dermatitis, etc.
  • The shea tree takes 15 years to produce fruits and another 20 to 25 years to reach its full potential.
  • The shea tree can live as long as 200 years.
  • Shea oil treats nasal congestion.
  • It aids hair growth.
  • It reduces itching on the skin and hair
  • Shea butter is often used in place of cocoa butter.
  • It is used in baking, making chocolates, and ice cream.
  • It serves as a long-lasting lipstick.
  • In most parts of Africa, Shea oil is considered women’s gold.
  • A cup of shea contains 1927 calories.
  • Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo are some of the highest producers of shea butter.
  • Shea butter is known by many local names such as kaɗe or kaɗanya in Hausa, Òkwùmá in Igbo, and òrí in the Yoruba language.

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Types Of Shea Oil

There are four basic types of shea oil. They are processed similarly. The only difference is the additional steps such as filtering, removal of impurities and smell, colour alterations, and changing its composition.

1). Raw Shea Butter:

Raw shea oil is the unfiltered form of shea oil. It takes the form of a paste and has a deep yellow colour but might be greenish as well if the nuts are not fully ripe.

2). Unrefined Shea Butter:

Unrefined shea butter is similar to raw shea butter but the distinction lies in the filtering methods. Unrefined shea is carefully filtered, so as not to affect or alter its quality. It also cannot contain chemicals and preservatives.

3). Refined Shea Butter:

Refined shea butter undergoes filtering processes that change its composition, colour, and smell. It contains some perfumes, chemicals, and preservatives. It has fewer nutrients in comparison to raw and unrefined butter. It is smooth and usually white.

4). Ultra-Refined Shea Butter:

Ultra-refined shea butter undergoes at least two filtering methods. This process changes its composition and colour and nutrients. This type of butter is in many mass-produced cosmetics. It is the least healthy. The colour of ultra-refined butter is white, and the form can vary from firm to liquid.


How To Start A Shea Oil Production Business In Nigeria: A Step-By-Step Guide

1). Draft A Business Plan:

To start a successful shea oil production business, start by writing a comprehensive professional business plan that includes all plans, objectives, business targets, strategies, available budget, etc. Also include all decisions on the scope of business, preferred location, etc.

2). Get A Suitable Production Site:

Most local producers of shea oil create a special place within their residential apartments. However, for a sophisticated large-scale production, a special production site should be designated. Shea oil has a distinctive smell which may be offensive to others, so it is advisable to site the production space far from residential areas.

3). Get Necessary Ingredients And Equipment:

The next step to manufacturing shea oil is to get the necessary equipment and ingredients used in the process. Some of the items needed are shea nuts, pans for boiling water, drying mats, pestles, winnowing baskets, and clay pots, among others.

4). Employ Labour:

After getting all materials and equipment set up, employ the services of people who will undertake the different stages involved in processing shea nuts into shea oil.

5). Processing Shea Oil:

  • De-pulp the shea fruits by fermenting them. This involves burying the fruits in a pit or any other mechanism.
  • Boil the nuts for 40 – 45 minutes to loosen up the kernels.
    Dry the boiled nuts either on a cemented floor or a mat.
  • Use a stone or a mortar and pestle to separate the kernels from the shell.
  • Wash the kernels in clean water, sun-dry to remove moisture, and sort them by putting the nuts in a winnowing basket.
  • Pound the kernels in a mortar and pestle.
  • Roast and grind to paste in a grinding machine.
  • Emulsify oil through kneading. Churn the ground paste with your hand, gradually adding cold water. The process breaks the fat away from the paste.
  • Add hot water to melt the separated fat and set it free from the cake. Add a large amount of cold water while stirring till the fat floats to the top of the paste. It usually takes 2 hours to knead properly.
  • Scoop the fat with a spoon and boil it on fire to hydrate it. Use a scoop to skim the fat and let the butter settle.
  • Filter the butter with a filtering cloth and allow it to cool and solidify.

6). Packaging And Distribution:

Package the oil in an airtight container and sell at your local market or to a supplier. The cake from the kneaded paste can also be packaged and sold to feed millers.

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Challenges Of Shea Oil Production Business In Nigeria

  • Shea oil production is labour-intensive.
  • Low awareness of the benefits of shea oil.
  • Lack of modern processing facilities.
  • Difficulty in reaching across to the international market.
  • Inadequate infrastructural facilities like electricity and water for easier processing.
  • Low government support for the shea products sector.
  • Insufficient fertilizers for boosting shea nuts farming.
  • Unfavourable international market policies
  • Poor road network

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To Sum It Up

Shea oil production in Nigeria is a treasure waiting for miners. Irrespective of the challenges facing the industry in Nigeria, the shea butter business is a lucrative one which has continued to draw the attention of businesspersons. The shea oil 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 network. If you’re looking for a lucrative business to venture into, the shea oil production business in Nigeria is a great option to explore.


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Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with expertise in supply chain management, international trade, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, renewable energy, and agriculture. I'm also a network engineer, I.T security expert, and computer programmer. In my spare time when I'm not working out at the gym, I try to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with whatever means necessary.

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