Description: Essential oils are odoriferous organic volatile bodies of
an oil character. The oils are
mainly derived from certain plant sources, and by nature they are present
in small concentrations in certain parts of the plants such as leaves,
barks, roots, flowers, or fruits.
Essential oils have extensive application for a wide range of
uses. They are used in soaps and
cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, confectionery and aerated water, etc. Essentials oils can be used for domestic
consumption and for exports. Common
essential oils are eucalyptus oil, lemon, grass oil, geranium oil, pine
oil, castor oil, corn oil, garlic oil, ginger oil, etc.
- Rationale: Though
declining due to deforestation, the Amhara Region is a source of wide
variety of plants. Different kinds
of essential oils can be obtained from these plants. Up to now, no attempt has been made to
extract these oils for commercial purposes; and the Region has not
benefited form its plant resources in the area of essential oil
production. Without further
aggravating the depletion of the forest resources, it is possible to
produce essential oils from trees and vegetables which can be planted and
harvested and again replanted. In
fact, if commercial productions of essential oils are rewarding,
reforestation activities might take place in some areas of the Region.
Potential: All essentials oils used for various purposes are imported;
and import figures are not readily available since different oils are
categorized under different import figures. But the presence of soap factories,
pharmaceutical factories, confectioneries, cosmetics etc, indicate the
existence of a captive market for some type of essential oils. In addition, there is a high potential
for exporting essential oils to countries where plant resources are
extremely limited or practically non- existent due to climate.
- Source of Raw
Material: The existing plant resources and farm products such as
garlic, singer, geranium, castor, corn, etc. are sources of essential
oils; and these can be found and/ or grown in the Region. Besides, some commercial tree/plant
farms could be established.
Process & Technology: Three different production processes are used
to extract or separate oils from plant materials. These are distillation, expression and
extraction by volatile solvents.
Different types of machinery and equipment are used depending on
the type of oil to be extracted or produced and the type of production
process to be used.
Investment: Again the investment cost depends on the type of product
and production process. However,
for a small scale plant, a total investment of Birr 500,000-1,000,000 will
- Benefit to the
Economy: More use of the
Region’s natural resources, earning and saving of foreign exchange
- Location: Urban
centers where the plant and vegetable resources are to be found and/ or
grown in sufficient quantities.