It is a plant botanically called moringa oleifera, It is also variously known as horseradish, ben tree or drumstick. The plant is native to Asia, particularly India, Pakistan and Nepal but it also grows in some parts of Africa, including Nigeria and South America. Moringa grows best in direct sunlight under 500 maltitude, tolerates a wide range of soil conditions and requires minimum rainfall to survive.
Also called a miracle plant, it has a lot of health benefits.
It is useful in the treatment and prevention of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, anemia, arthritis, and liver diseases. Other conditions that moringa can treat are skin and digestive disorders, ulcers, constipation, kidney stone, including epilepsy.
The list is endless.
It can act as a nutritional supplement, stimulate immunity, increases libido, can be a contraceptive and help to increase breast production in women. Can you see why they call it a miracle plant?
Business Opportunities in Moringa
But beyond its health benefits, the moringa plant is a source of business opportunity for entrepreneurs in the agricultural and industrial sectors. It has a long value chain, from the cultivation of the plant to processing of the leaves and seeds into value adding products in health, beverages and skin scare. Some common moringa based products around us include:
Moringa leave powder, Moringa fruit powder, moringa capsule, moringa dried leaves, moringa oil, moringa seed cake powder and moringa tea.
This post discusses how interested entrepreneurs can set up a moringa herbal tea plant.
Why Set Up a Moringa Tea Factory? or Why set up a tea factory at all in Nigeria?
The market is huge.
Nigeria produces about 1640 tonnes of tea annually which meets only 10 percent of demand. This means that there is a 90 percent gap which is hardly met by imported brands. Thus, there is an ample opportunity for entrepreneurs to go into tea production in Nigeria.
The herbal tea segment of the market is gaining more grounds in Nigeria as more and more consumers become health conscious. The fear of obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cancer and the sophistication of the working class all combined to drive the demand for herbal tea.
It is a common sight to see tea brands that offer weight loss, antioxidant and other health properties coming from China, Indonesia and India in addition to popular brands like Tazo, Twinnings, Tulsi, Rose Hip and Tumeric. Some of the local brands that are doing very well in the market include Biogenic, Legend and the Lipton brands by Unilever.
With the many health benefits of moringa as highlighted above, a moringa herbal tea offers best choices for the health conscious consumers.
Sourcing raw materials for a moringa factory is not a problem as many moringa farms are springing up across Nigeria. As a matter of fact some expert have advocated that the Federal Government makes a national policy on moringa trees due to its many health, economic and industrial benefits.
Moringa Tea Production Process
Tea production process generally is not complicated. It begins with withering the leaves which traditional entails spreading them in thin layers and exposing them in open air for about 20 hours. In modern factory practices however, withering may involve placing the leaves in troughs, tunnel or perforated drums and allowing it pass through a mechanical blast.
Thereafter, the leaves are crushed with rolling machines. After crushing the leaves, they are dried, milled and blended and then packaged as desired.
Ditto for moringa tea bag production. It is not complicated. In fact local household in the North are said to manually make moringa tea from the dried leaves. For a tea factory, the plant can be locally fabricated.
It simply start with collecting required amount of the moringa leaves needed. This can be obtained from local farmers that are springing up all over Nigeria now. With time, the entrepreneur can begin to cultivate own moringa farm in a backward integration plan.
Pluck the leaves, wash them, sterilize and then dry them well using the manual or mechanical processes. Thereafter the dried leaves are milled into a powdered form and blended.
Blending may involves adding some flavours to not only improve the taste but to also serve as a brand differentiation factor. Common flavours that come with variety of herbal tea include garlic, ginger, strawberry, honey or a combination of these.
Finally package in permeable tea bags and put into small branded cartons in say 25 tea bags per pack. To ensure acceptability your product must be hygienically prepared, tested and well packaged. A proof of this to the consumer is the stamp of NAFDAC number.
Step by Step Set Up Guide for Moringa Tea Bag Production
To set up your tea bag making factory, take the following simple steps.
#1. Register your Business – either an enterprise or an incorporated company will serve the purpose here. You may seek a professional opinion to guide you
#2. Prepare a feasibility study and business plan – this is an essential part of the planning process. After you have conducted your field investigation, identify your market, source of supply of raw materials, source of supply of equipment, where and how to sell as well as profitability levels; it is advised that you write your findings down.
Your business plan will serve as a guide in every stage of the business development process. If need be seek and get the input of a professional.
#3. Source equipment. You can get a local fabricator to fabricate every component of the equipment you need. If however, you have a heavy budget, you can source from China
#4. Obtain all necessary industry approval. This will certainly include the NAFDAC registration.
#5. Prepare your factory and set up other necessary offices
#6. Recruit initial staff
#7. Open shop after all the steps highlighted above have been taken.
How Much Can You Make from packaging moringa tea bag?
A small scale investment in moringa tea factory can be achieved with a capital of between N3 million to N5 million and it can be expected the generate an annual revenue of N10 million and above.
A serious investor can contact us for a feasibility and market viability analysis for this project. This project if properly packaged meets the requirement for funding by the Bank of Industry, Development Bank of Nigeria (DBN) and other finance institutions and funding agencies.
Buchi provides small business owners with strategic, financial, and digital support to help them build strong, successful and profitable enterprises. He is a Blogger at night and by day, Team Lead at Stalwart Investment Partners Ltd, a research, business and investment advisory firm.