Maxima Nsimenta is CEO of Livara, a Ugandan brand that makes natural and organic products for hair, skin and body. How we did it in Africa asked her to identify an untapped business opportunity in Africa. This is their answer:
“There is great potential for high quality essential oils as they are not widely available south of the Sahara. Due to the quality and quantity, I have to import many of my raw materials and ingredients from the USA or India. This market is ripe and ready and just waiting for us to get serious.
“We import quite a lot of essential oils, but it is possible to produce locally. We grow flowers in Uganda and Kenya, but mainly for export to Amsterdam and Europe. We don’t go the extra mile using parts of these plants to extract essential oils. For example, lavender is a beautiful flower, very rich in oils; We could extract the lavender essential oil. A small bunch of lavender sells in Uganda for around 15,000 shillings (about $ 4). However, 20 ml of lavender oil costs around $ 40.
“There are many local industries that require essential oils. They are used in pastries and beverages, as well as in everyday cosmetics such as lotions, creams, hair care products, and perfumes. Some small industries – like those that make scented candles – also use essential oils. “