Starting a Commercial Herb Farming Business in Nigeria
Answered by: Richard Alan Miller
Question from: Tunde Adeagbo
Posted on: May 16, 2003

Dear Richard

Good day to you over there. I came across your website 4 days ago and I decided to make some enquiries concerning commercial herb farming business in Nigeria. I was pleasantly happy going through your website most especially your curriculum vitae which shows you are an authority in the world of herb in its entirety. I shall be happy if you will allow me to associate with you and to tap from your wealth of experience.

I have a first degree in Crop Production in a Nigerian university and I’m currently in London. I desire to go into fulltime commercial herb farming business in my country Nigeria as soon as possible.

As you are aware, any worthwhile business requires a thorough planning. Since herb business is not an exception, I will therefore kindly seek your assistance in the area of farm planning, production, harvesting and marketing of herbs.

May I ask you the names of herbs that can be grown in commercial quantity in a tropical climate like Nigeria, which will also command high market value in the World Market? I will also like to know how and where to get the planting materials.

How do I start producing these herbs?

How to nurture and harvest them

How to start marketing them outside Nigeria.

I can help you, of course, and I’m rather inexpensive as consultants go. You probably need to begin with some basics prior to having me help develop a business plan. You should spend some time at www.richters.com, then go to the Q/A section on commercial cultivation questions. Keep a tablet next to you and develop some specific questions, while getting an overall "feel" for the possibilities.

The industry now is not about raw material productions as much as finding niche markets using the crops for cottage industry development. It’s about labor and being gainfully employed, making $30/hour, not minimum wage. Also, about being busy 8 hours per day, not 4. The business must be self-sustaining with growth. That will only happen when you add value to your crop prior to it’s leaving the farm.

I have also left footprints in many areas, to include my books and e-books (www.herbfarminfo.com). To bring me on site would cost $500/day, plus expenses. I have some very good associates in both Nigeria and the Cameroon ‘s. Mostly is tropical spice production, although there are some interesting new herbs (like yohimbe) that offer access to world trade. These would be part of my business plan suggestions.

Where do you get planting materials? Conrad Richter (www.richters.com) offers the best selections for mail order. Even my daughter uses Conrad’s sources, running her own horticultural trade.

How do you start producing these herbs? That is given in my e-book "Getting Started" at www.herbfarminfo.com This offers the basics and specific machinery used for most crops.

How to nurture and harvest them This is a more difficult question to respond, as many crops are quite different. The best spice production textbooks I have found are the Tropical Agricultural Series titled Spices (2 volumes, by Purseglove, Brown, Green, and Robbins. Longman Group Limited, c1981. ISBN 0-582-46811-6.)

How to start marketing them outside Nigeria. Marketing has never been easier since the creation of the Internet (and search engines). I also would highly recommend the International trade Centre, UNCTAD in Geneva. They monitor all spice sales for each country, to include who, how much, and other important details. Nigeria is listed in what they buy and what they grow, for example.

I hope this helps to get started. Once you have ten questions, e-mail me with them. Let’s see if we can’t get something started for you in Nigeria.

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