Bitter kola which is also known as GARCINIA Kola is a product of the kola tree. It is one of Nigeria’s most valued cash crops and has immense socio-economic significance in Nigeria’s society.
Bitter kola is found throughout West and Central Africa, and in large quantities in the South, East and Western States of Nigeria. It is a wonderful agricultural product with a wide range of applications in natural and orthodox medicine. Bitter kola is also used in the brewing process, among many other diverse domestic and industrial uses.
With its myriad of uses, bitter kola is a highly sought out commodity in the international market. Most international buyers find their way to Nigeria where the commodity can be found in abundance all year round.
Over the years, the demand for bitter kola nuts has been on the rise. But no matter the high demand, there is barely a time the commodity has been so scarce in the Nigerian market. And that’s good news for those who are eager to start the business of exporting bitter kola from Nigeria to China, Indonesia, Europe and other places where it is highly needed.
In my previous blog post on bitter kola export business, I explained the export potential of bitter kola and emphasized the need why you should consider investing in this business. This post is a detailed explanation on how to go about setting up a bitter kola exporting business in Nigeria.
So, If you are interested in learning how to export bitter kola but you don’t have the millions to start on a grand scale, this post was written for you.
How To Start A Small Scale Bitter Kola Export Business In Nigeria
Many people assume that the Import and Export business is exclusively for those with a ton of capital. Many Others frown at the business when they think of the hassles they will go through in Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Customs and the rest of them. But all that was in the past. Today, you can start exporting bitter kola in small parcels and grow along as you make some profit. Thanks to eCommerce.
This post will guide you through the process.
To begin, here are tips to guide you;
- Get the address of your customers
- Build a professional website where your customers can reach you.
- Make your contact information available like phone number and email address.
(This will mean that you are open and transparent in your business)
- Have a bank account, it could be current or savings but a domiciliary account is preferable.
You can make use of your Nigerian bank account but there must be some level of trust before a buyer will pay into such an account.
Sometimes it also depends on the size of the expected exportable products and the money involved.
Other Important Tips
Always get buyers down before starting
This is very important because there must be an agreement before the commencement of any transaction. Choose the country of your interest, contact a dealer or buyer and start a conversation. State the quality of your product and the quantity. Agree on the mode of payment and let him/her know the number of waiting days before receiving the parcel.
Get The Address Of The Buyer
This is is also very important.
State The Quality Of The Product
Do not try to play a fast one, make sure you supply the exact quality your client bargained for.
Ensure Good Packaging/branding
Don’t package your product from home, an officer must be there to ascertain that you are exporting no prohibited item(s).
How To Package Bitter Kola For Export
While there is no standard packaging method for packaging or bagging bitter kola, you will need to package your bitter kola seeds carefully to ensure the preservation of seed quality as well as protection of the seeds. Be sure to use lighter materials that would not add more weight to the goods. You must bear in mind that air-tight bags are not used to package bitter kola seeds, as aeration is needed to keep the seeds fine.
The packaging requirement will be clearly stated in the contract order and you should strictly adhere to it.
How To Contact International Buyers For The Products
One of the greatest headaches for those involved in bitter kola export is how to get legit buyers who are willing to trade. The main reason is that bitter Kola is not one of the conventional products like cashew nuts, ginger and the rest of the exportable cash crops. One of the ways to contact foreign buyers of bitter Kola is by using the internet through an export brokerage or B2B websites.
Some online B2B companies can help you get some good customers. Through these B2B platforms, you can also contact other suppliers, manufacturers, vendors, and distributors who are in the export business.
Here are some of the most legit platforms that you can find willing and ready buyers for your products.
Alibaba has been a leading business to business marketplace for quite a while now. It is also the largest e-commerce website in the world serving over 35 million users. Alibaba is a Chinese website but supports all kinds of languages. It is hands down the best website for business to business organizations currently.
eWorldTrade is one leading Business to business platform that has been growing steadily over the last decade. They offer a variety of services and attract a good number of buyers, and suppliers of all products around the globe.
If you’ve been looking for a platform to find good clients, you should give eWorldTrade a try.
Made-in-china is another China-based website that holds the second-largest manufacturer directory in the world. It is quite a decent website, with language support for English, Chinese and Taiwanese
It is a wholesaler website and a new hybrid for better transacting. DHgate supports third-party payment escrow which means that buyers can pay through PayPal, and the funds are then deposited into the DHgate account. It supports small and medium enterprises and has operational units in several countries around the globe.
It is the largest B2B marketplace in South Korea. However, some people have had a few problems with it when it comes to order shipments. Overall, it is one of the best out there.
TradeIndia offers leads for both Indian and foreign exporters. It is a website that mostly caters to small businesses and was first started in 1996 by Bikky Khosla.
The portal has its headquarters in New Delhi and has over 1200 professionals in its employ.
Global Sources was the first in the B2B industry to be listed in the stock market. It is quite an impressive platform with a pretty stable background. It has lived through the years and has been growing at perhaps a slower but acceptable pace than other websites.
Courier Companies You Can Use
NIPOST is the cheapest, they provide 2 kinds of services; the conventional which is very cheaper when compared to the express delivery, goods will take 2 weeks to deliver. EMS is their express delivery; goods take 3-4 days to deliver.
You have to find out what each of the courier companies accepts, their shipping charges and of course how you will be billed.
How To Receive Payment From A Foreign Buyer
There are many ways to receive payment but some are safer than the others. Make sure you agree on a particular mode of payment before sending out your goods.
Cash in advance/wire transfers via banking channels
This involves collecting money in advance via bank wire transfers. The sellers collect money in advance maybe because they are yet to build trust with the buyer. However, most clients lately prefer the pay on delivery option.
This involves buyers obtaining a documentary letter of credit from their bank to the seller via her bank for confirmation. The credit letter stands as an obligation for the bank to guarantee the buyers’ payment. The downside to this method however is, some banks decline to offer buyers this letter especially if they are not sure of their financial solvency. Also, the issuance involves charges which the buyer may not want to accept.
Draft documentary/document against payment (D/P)
Here the sellers make use of bank services for payment. She/he would ship the goods with a bill of lading and a draft through her bank, her bank will then forward it to the buyers’ bank in her country. The buyers’ bank would then collect payment from the buyer before releasing the product. If she is not able to pay the goods will not be released.
Time draft/document against acceptance
Another way is through a time draft, this is known as document acceptance (D/A) transactions. Here the bill of lading and draft are forwarded through banks but the buyer agrees to pay within a stipulated time (could be in a month or so)after receiving the goods. If the buyers refuse to pay you may have to file a lawsuit which makes this option very risky for the seller.
Open account (payment on delivery)
Here the seller forwards the goods and a bill of lading with a commercial invoice directly to the buyer for payment. The buyer will receive the goods whether the payment is made or not.
Here goods and services are exchanged, it is a kind of trade by batter thing. It could be sending a product to get another product from the buyer’s country.
Apart from bitter kola, here is a list of other items you can export from Nigeria and make a good profit.
List Of Other Exportable Agricultural Products
- Cashew nuts
- Cotton seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Palm oil
- Tiger nuts
- Bitter collar
- Palm kernel
The list seems to be endless. All you have to do is pick a product that interests you which you can be supplying in small quantities.
List Of Some Non-Exportable Products
- Artifacts and antiquities
- Raw hides and skin, unfinished leather,
- Unprocessed rubber latex,
- Sawn or rough timber,
- Rubber lumps.
- Elephant, eagle, zebra, crocodile, monkey, lizard and any other endangered species.