INP tab Commiphora Market value and value addition

There are four broad sectors in which essential oils are used: food and flavours, pharmaceutical, fragrance and cosmetic, and industrial. The majority of essential oils are obtained from agricultural plants. However a number are collected from wild sources, including trees. Most of the trade in essential oils takes place in Europe, America and East Asia with very little, or insignificant, trade in Africa and, in particular, the SADC Region. Consumption by Asia, America and Europe are roughly equal and about one third of the global market. SADC’s trade in essential oils is about 1% overall. In 2005 exports and imports amounted to US$15.4m and US$25.8m, respectively. However, there are many opportunities for the region to increase its share in the world trade.

It is unlikely that C. wildii essential oil will become as commonplace in the essential oil markets as the globally well-known oils such as lavender, because the latter have been used globally for generations, and their properties and uses are common knowledge to many people. Previously unexplored oils, such as C. wildii, still need to be extensively researched and used to uncover their benefits and enhance exposure. It will appeal to a small sector of the market, and is more likely to appeal to perfume makers for blending, and to professional aromatherapists who specialise in indigenous oils for their unique properties.

C. wildii has a fragrance that is very light; meaning that a lot of oil will need to be used in products for its scent to come through. Production of C. wildii oil is localised and it is produced in relatively small quantities, limiting the supply available to the market place.

Along with the product development activities, brand development of these Namibian products has been initiated. The first step was to settle on a name for the brand – something that could succinctly capture the mystical, ancient feeling of the desert and the Himba culture. A logo has been developed and the trademark Scents of Namibia registered.

Omumbiri oil has several unique selling points that will contribute to the successful marketing of the oils. This essential oil is a true myrrh, generating interest in it from the outset. The story behind the essential oil – its traditional use, how it is harvested, produced and branded, and the harvesters who directly benefit from this also promotes sales.

The supply will always remain limited, and this makes it an exclusive product. The products under the brand name of ‘Scents of Namibia’ will become synonymous with products that are empowering local communities, are 100% natural and botanical, organic, ecologically sustainable and a completely Namibian product.

Harvesters are paid N$50/kg of resin or gum when it is delivered to the conservancy buying point. During the three to four months harvesting season, individual harvesters can earn between N$1000 and N$5000, although the average earned is around N$1500 per season.

C. wildii resin is sold at N$100/kg while, after value adding, the essential oil is sold for N$5,000/kg. Harvesters benefit from the sale of the raw material to OPF. Companies in Namibia and South Africa are using the essential oil to fragrance their cosmetic products.