In this sector, Madagascar has been known for its traditional essential oils such as Ylang ylang, clove and Palmarosa essence. It is only more recently that Malagasy producers have begun producing and exporting new types of essential oils, for example geranium, niaouli and helichryse. This new interest for non-traditional essential oils has led to the development of the sector for the past three years, especially with the support of USAID and UNIDO.
The essential oils field is emergent. It constitutes even one of the economy’s country pillars from the entry of currencies it generates and the number of created jobs “80 to 90% of the products are exported. The remaining 20% are intended for the domestic market”.
Because of the insufficiency of the transformation units (perfume industry, aromatherapy, the foodstuffs one…), most of the exported products are raw products.
To show the quality and the origin of the natural and organic products of Madagascar (cloves, ginger, pepper, cinnamon…), the professional traders association in agri-business (PRONABIO) is in a phase of launching the label “natiora” (test period of 6 months) during which the analyses in laboratories will be carried out in parallel from the local laboratories partners and those of the Rutgers University of New Jersey.
More than 3 tons of essential oils of cloves per month, 1 ton of ravintsara per month, 2-3 tons of niaouli, these are in one hand the needs for the firms and foreign companies.
Sector potentials and opportunities
Madagascar, from its climate, presents an enormous potentiality in terms of essential oils. One can count a score of plants from which can be extracted oils or oleoresins. More than 35 varieties of aromatic and medicinal plants are exploited and transformed by the traders.
In addition, with an useful surface area corresponding to 11,8% of the country’s surface, the potential of the agricultural sector (export culture) is still important. Moreover with the participation of a population whose labour is among the less expensive, the products are competitive on the international market.