Castor Oil Production Can Be Big Business For Nigerian Farmers And Investors
The Castor crop (Ricinus communis L.) is cultivated around the world because of the commercial importance of the oil that is produced from its seeds. The republic of India is said to be the largest producer of castor seeds in the world, meeting a large share of the global demand for the lucrative castor oil.
Annual Import Rate Of Castor Oil In Nigeria
The annual import rate of the castor oil in Nigeria reaches up to N30 billion, despite having an arable land mass and a climate that is quite favorable for the agricultural ventures. It is clear that only very few out of the Nigerian population, including the government, are taking advantage of the present opportunities that are obtainable in the agricultural value chains for the generation of profit and revenue.
The opportunities that abound in the agricultural venture of castor farming are numerous as a potential farmer or investor can realise profits reaching up to N50 million on a 10-hectar land space over a period of seven years due to its a consumer base of more than 1000 users and over 80 health benefits possessed by the crop. The health benefits are why the crop is regarded as a miracle seed.
The oil that is extracted from the castor plant is among its most economically valuable aspects, which is a major daily commodity for companies around the world.
Due to its unlimited industrial applications, castor oil is on very high demand across the world. The current consumption rate of castor oil and its derivatives in the domestic market is estimated at some 300,000 tons.
Castor oil has a very wide range of applications and uses which range from the manufacturing of paints, synthetic resins and varnishes, even to the area of high-end engineering products relevant to national security such as jet engine lubricants, engineering plastics and polymer for electronics and telecommunications.
Other Valuable Uses of Castor Seed Derivatives
The use of the castor oil and its derivatives also find major application in the making of soaps, grease, hydraulic brake fluids and perfumery products as well, in cosmetics.
Castor oil is also finds use as a fundamental ingredient in the production of nylon 11, nylon 610, heavy duty automotive greases, coatings and inks, surfacants, polyurethanes, polishes, flypapers and many other chemical derivatives and medicinal, pharmaceutical and cosmetic products. This means that farmers and investors of the castor crop can expect to be generating profits from multiple streams, seeing that the crop is useful in more than one industry.
Investment In The Castor Crop Business
For the purpose of producing good castor crops that will help in generating profit however, potential farmers and investors are advised to consult an expert in castor farming on where to get god seeds and other inputs before going ahead to venture into castor the castor farming business.
Mr. Akin Famuyiwa, a farmer and consultant with Monrole Global, while speaking on the topic of the economic benefits of castor seeds, had the following ton say; “the money in castor is even more in production of its oil. With a small machine, a castor oil producer can make N1 billion in a year. Crude castor oil could be sold to electricity companies, textile industries, paint industries, aviation industries and pharmaceutical industries to mention few. All these industries need castor oil presently imported from India and China.
“Pharmaceutical industries need organic castor bean oil to produce painkillers. The world’s consumption is high and production is too low.
“Castor is a seven-year plant. This means that one time investment will last for seven good years. To me, this is incredible. A tonne of castor bean sells for $1,500 as at now. If one plants castor on 2½ acres of land (1 hectare), he can get 1 tonne every five months for seven years, which means you will harvest for about 15 times because it starts producing as from the fifth month after planting. It only needs four rains or watering to survive and that makes you a silent millionaire because people don’t even know it when they see it. The whites come to us to look for it. We don’t have good castor seed in Nigeria but we have the best land for castor plant.”
Mr. Famuyiwa, also speaking on the capital cost of starting castor farming and analysis for 10 hectares of castor plantation, said that the clearing of the land depends on one’s negotiations and geographical location, and that heaping also depends on negotiations.
He further explained, “labour to be determined by self, pesticides will cost N12,000, seedlings N25,000, which the total is N37,000. Likely challenges are similar to other agricultural ventures that include pest, lack of fertiliser, and lack of adequate processing factory as cost of acquiring [machinery] is expensive. Also, capital often limits farmers, as a government loan is sometimes cumbersome to access due to too many requirements.”