Kolanut comes in two types in Nigeria, the cola nitida and cola acuminate. Kolanut is a plant that grows in hot tropical lowland forest, with a rainfall extending over a period of eight months or thereabouts and a temperature between 230c and 250c.
It is an evergreen plant that grows to a height of about 5 to 18 metres or more. The plant usually needs deep and well drained soil to grow and it thrives in sheltered valleys on the fringes of forest relics, where the soils are rich in humus.
About 88 percent of the world’s cola nitida crop is produced in Nigeria, and 90 percent of the product is consumed in the country especially in the kola chewing areas of the northern Nigeria. It is eaten raw for more stimulating effects, while 10 percent only is exported outside the shores.
There's a large export market for it because it has a lot of users. Moreover, kolanut can be processed into other products such as, beverages, kola powder, varieties of drugs and body creams. Let's quickly go through the requirements on how to start Kolanut export business.
Kolanut is typically spread from seeds plants at stake inside seed boxes. Kolanut generally starts bearing fruits from the fourth year of field planting.
Kola nitida is harvested between November and December yearly, while kola acuminate is harvested between May and June. An average kolanut tree can produce up to 200 nuts in a year, a nut of Kola nitida sells on the average of ₦10-₦20, while kola acuminata sells on the average ₦50 per nut. You can curtivate on the average, 400 stands of kolanut in one hectare of land.
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So in this regard, one hectare of kola nitida can get you about ₦800,000 per annum, while kola acuminate can fetch you about ₦4 million per hectare on a yearly basis. Kolanut is commonly grown in the western part of Nigeria, other parts of the country where it's also grown is Edo and Kwara states.
Curing and Preservation
The most essential factors in preparation of the kola for processing after harvesting and shelling is skinning of the nuts, while they are in fresh state. To achieve this, the nuts are placed in a basket or left on bare floor, but water from time to time, for about four to five days, or buried in ground.
The cured kolanuts are stored in large baskets, lined and covered with a thick layer of semi dried plantain leaves from which the midrib has been removed and used. Kolanuts can be preserved for about a year or more with this method.
How To Source For Kolanuts in Nigeria
As stated earlier, kola nuts are mostly grown in the western part of Nigeria, in states such as; Ekiti, Oyo, Osun, Ondo, Edo and Kwara. The major towns kola nuts can be found in large quantities are Shasha and Oje markets in Ibadañ, Ondo, Sabo and Atakunmosa markets, Ogbese in Ondo State, Owena in Osun State, Ikirun in Osun State, Owo in Ondo State, Ado Ekiti, Aramoko Ekiti, Efon Alaye, Ikole Ekiti, Ilawe, Faforiji in Osun State, Garage Olode in Ife East in Osun State, Ore in Ondo State, Benin, Auchi in Edo State, Ikirun in Osun State, Ijebu Jesse in Osun, Esa Oke in Osun State.
To source for the kolanut, potential buyers go to market days of the above towns and villages and make purchase at the kolanut section and buy the quantity and quality they need. The average price for a kilogramme of cola nitida is ₦700, while that of cola acuminate is ₦3,000.
The major markets for kolanut are in India and China, where they are usually processed into other products, like the body cream for example. Oil can also be extracted from kolanut, which also has a lot of uses.
Export cost for cola nitida is about $20 per kilogramme, that is about ₦7,000 per kilogramme with current exchange rate. So, you see one can actually make a lot of profits from exporting Kolanuts.
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