How to Export Shea Butter from Nigeria

Shea butter is a prized commodity with deep roots in Nigerian tradition. Unlike many crops, the Shea tree demands patience, taking a significant span of 11 to 15 years before yielding its first fruits, yet it generously continues to bear fruit for over two centuries. Local women have historically played a vital role in this process, with their skilled hands expertly carrying out the collection of seeds and the processing procedures.

How to Export Shea Butter from Nigeria

Shea butter is a rich substance cherished for its myriad uses and unparalleled benefits. As demand surges and supply chains evolve, a shift towards mechanization has emerged, seeking to marry tradition with innovation to meet the growing needs of a global market.

Top Exporting & Importing Countries of Shea Butter

Top Exporting Countries of Shea Butter

  1. Ghana – Approximately 38% of the global market share
  2. Burkina Faso – Around 25% of the global market share
  3. Nigeria – Approximately 15% of the global market share
  4. Côte d’Ivoire – Around 10% of the global market share
  5. Benin – Approximately 5% of the global market share
  6. Mali – Around 3% of the global market share
  7. Togo – Approximately 2% of the global market share
  8. Senegal – Around 1.5% of the global market share
  9. Niger – Approximately 1% of the global market share
  10. Guinea – Around 0.5% of the global market share
  11. Sierra Leone – Approximately 0.3% of the global market share
  12. Chad – Around 0.2% of the global market share
  13. Cameroon – Approximately 0.1% of the global market share
  14. Central African Republic – Around 0.1% of the global market share
  15. Others – Collectively making up the remaining market share

Top Importing Countries of Shea Butter

  1. United States – Approximately 30% of the global market share
  2. European Union (as a whole) – Around 25% of the global market share
  3. China – Approximately 15% of the global market share
  4. Japan – Around 8% of the global market share
  5. India – Approximately 7% of the global market share
  6. South Korea – Around 5% of the global market share
  7. Canada – Approximately 3% of the global market share
  8. Australia – Around 2% of the global market share
  9. United Arab Emirates – Approximately 1.5% of the global market share
  10. Brazil – Around 1% of the global market share
  11. Singapore – Approximately 0.5% of the global market share
  12. Mexico – Around 0.3% of the global market share
  13. Russia – Approximately 0.2% of the global market share
  14. Turkey – Around 0.1% of the global market share
  15. Others – Collectively making up the remaining market share

How to Export Shea Butter from Nigeria

Step 1: Obtain Necessary Licenses and Permits

It’s essential to ensure compliance with Nigeria’s regulatory framework governing shea butter export. Begin by obtaining the required licenses and permits from relevant authorities such as the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. These licenses are crucial as they attest to the quality and authenticity of your shea butter, instilling confidence in international buyers and facilitating smooth customs clearance processes.

Additionally, it’s advisable to familiarize yourself with any specific regulations or documentation requirements imposed by the destination country. This may include sanitary and phytosanitary certificates, product labeling regulations, and adherence to international quality standards.

Step 2: Source High-Quality Shea Butter

The success of your shea butter export venture depends on the quality of the product you offer. In Nigeria, shea butter is predominantly sourced from women’s cooperatives and local communities engaged in traditional shea butter production methods. Establishing strong relationships with reliable suppliers is key to securing a consistent supply of high-quality shea butter for export. Conduct thorough due diligence to verify the authenticity and purity of the shea butter, ensuring it meets the specifications and standards demanded by discerning international markets.

Furthermore, consider implementing quality control measures at various stages of the supply chain, from raw material procurement to processing and packaging. This may involve conducting regular inspections, performing laboratory tests for purity and composition, and adhering to good manufacturing practices (GMP).

Step 3: Ensure Proper Packaging and Labeling

Packaging plays a pivotal role in the export of shea butter, influencing both the product’s visual appeal and its protection during transit. Invest in sturdy and leak-proof containers that preserve the integrity of the shea butter and shield it from environmental factors such as heat and moisture. Consider utilizing packaging materials that are eco-friendly and recyclable, aligning with the sustainability preferences of many consumers worldwide.

Ensure that product labels accurately depict the contents, including the grade, origin, net weight, and expiration date. Additionally, comply with labeling regulations specific to the target market, incorporating multilingual labels where necessary to facilitate international trade. Clear and informative labeling not only enhances product transparency but also fosters consumer trust and compliance with regulatory requirements, bolstering your brand’s credibility in the global marketplace.

Step 4: Arrange Logistics and Shipping

Going through the complexities of logistics and shipping is paramount to the successful export of shea butter from Nigeria to international markets. Partner with reputable freight forwarders or shipping companies experienced in handling perishable goods and familiar with the nuances of cross-border trade. Coordinate transportation modalities tailored to the volume and destination of your shea butter shipments, whether by sea, air, or land.

Prioritize proper packaging and storage conditions to maintain the quality and freshness of the shea butter throughout the transit journey. This may involve temperature-controlled storage facilities and insulated packaging materials to mitigate the risk of spoilage or deterioration. Ensure compliance with customs regulations and documentation requirements at both the departure and arrival ports, streamlining the clearance process and minimizing the likelihood of delays or disruptions.

Step 5: Cultivate Relationships with International Buyers

Building lasting relationships with international buyers is fundamental to fostering a sustainable and thriving shea butter export business. Leverage digital platforms, industry events, and trade fairs to showcase your shea butter products and connect with potential buyers from around the world. Demonstrate a commitment to transparency, reliability, and customer satisfaction, offering personalized solutions tailored to the unique preferences and requirements of each buyer.

Furthermore, prioritize communication and responsiveness to address inquiries promptly and proactively resolve any issues that may arise. Establishing trust and rapport with buyers not only facilitates initial transactions but also lays the foundation for long-term partnerships and repeat business.

International Price of Shea Butter Per Metric Ton

The unit price of Grade A Shea Butter in the international market is influenced by a multitude of factors, each contributing to the final cost per kilogram. These factors include:

  1. Grade of the Produce: The level of processing involved in refining the shea butter affects its grade, with higher grades typically commanding higher prices due to increased purity and quality.
  2. Price of the Raw Material: Fluctuations in the cost of raw shea nuts directly impact the price of shea butter, as it is the primary ingredient in the production process.
  3. Age of the Shea Butter: The age of the shea butter can influence its price, with fresher batches often commanding higher prices due to superior quality and potency.
  4. Quantity Ordered: Bulk orders typically result in lower unit prices, as economies of scale allow for cost savings in production, packaging, and transportation.
  5. Harvest Season: Prices tend to rise during periods of low shea nut availability, such as off-seasons, due to increased demand and limited supply.
  6. Freight & Haulage Cost: Transportation expenses, including freight and haulage costs, play a significant role in determining the final price of shea butter, particularly for international shipments.
  7. Percentage of Markup: Sellers may apply varying markup percentages to cover overhead costs, profit margins, and market conditions.
  8. Import Duties: Tariffs and import duties imposed by importing countries can impact the landed cost of shea butter, affecting its final retail price.
  9. Distance from the Country of Origin: Longer transportation distances typically incur higher logistics costs, which may be reflected in the unit price of shea butter.
  10. Technology/Infrastructure Available in the Country of Origin: Access to modern processing facilities and infrastructure can influence production efficiency and costs, thereby affecting the price of shea butter.
  11. Relationship Between the Buyer and Seller: Established relationships between buyers and sellers may lead to preferential pricing arrangements or discounts based on mutual trust and long-term cooperation.

As of July 2023, Grade A (unrefined) shea butter is priced between $2,200 and $2,600 per metric ton (1,000 kilograms) in the international market, translating to approximately $2.2/kg to $2.6/kg. However, it’s important to note that these prices are subject to change based on market dynamics and the aforementioned factors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Nigeria export shea butter? Yes, Nigeria is one of the leading exporters of shea butter globally. Shea butter production is a significant economic activity in Nigeria, particularly in the northern states where shea trees are abundant.

Which state is the largest producer of shea butter in Nigeria? Kwara State is often cited as one of the largest producers of shea butter in Nigeria. However, other states such as Kogi, Niger, and Oyo also contribute significantly to shea butter production.

Which country imports the most shea butter? The United States is one of the largest importers of shea butter, followed by European Union countries, China, and Japan. These regions have a growing demand for natural skincare and cosmetic products, driving imports of shea butter.

Who are the largest shea butter exporters? Ghana, Burkina Faso, and Nigeria are among the largest exporters of shea butter globally. These West African countries have well-established shea butter industries and export networks.

Is shea butter in high demand? Yes, shea butter is in high demand globally due to its numerous skincare and cosmetic benefits. It is used in a wide range of products, including moisturizers, lotions, soaps, and hair care products, driving its demand in both consumer and industrial markets.

Which country has the best quality of shea butter? The quality of shea butter can vary depending on factors such as processing methods, storage conditions, and the purity of the raw material. However, West African countries like Ghana and Burkina Faso are renowned for producing high-quality shea butter due to their optimal growing conditions and traditional production techniques.

How much does a ton of shea butter cost? As of the latest data, the price of a ton of shea butter typically ranges from $2,200 to $2,600 in the international market. However, prices may vary based on factors such as grade, quality, and market conditions.

Why is shea butter so expensive? Several factors contribute to the relatively high cost of shea butter, including the labor-intensive production process, limited availability of shea nuts during certain seasons, transportation costs, and import/export duties. Additionally, high-quality shea butter commands a premium due to its purity and effectiveness in skincare and cosmetic applications.

What is the demand for shea butter? The demand for shea butter continues to grow steadily, driven by increasing consumer awareness of its natural and sustainable properties. Shea butter is widely sought after in the skincare, cosmetics, and food industries, with demand fueled by its moisturizing, nourishing, and healing properties.


How To Get Nigeria Certificate of Origin For Exports

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