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Hibiscus is not only for tea!

By Sereba Agiobu-Kemmer
22 October 2022   |   4:00 am
The hibiscus plant is truly one of nature’s gifts to humanity, as there are species for every climate and geographical areas of the globe.

Hibiscus flowers business and export:
The hibiscus plant is truly one of nature’s gifts to humanity, as there are species for every climate and geographical areas of the globe. In the garden it’s one of the quite distinctive plants with showy large blooms. Hibiscus flowers are regarded as symbolism for feminism because of their delicate and colorful blooms, which are so decorative and especially now there are many cultivars produced to last up to four-five days. Unlike the old species with its traditional habit of blooming for just 24 hours, and dropping off to be replaced by more blooms that will also fall off after one day.

Nature has ensured there are hibiscus species for each climatic and geographic regions of the globe. In the Tropics Hibiscus rosa sinensis, and Hibiscus Sabdariffa dominate as perennials: In subtropical and temperate frosty climates the Hibiscus syriacus thrives even in cold temperature as annual and in the homes and green houses. For its beauty, it’s irresistible as ornamentals for the outdoor and indoor gardens.

It has also been cultivated from ancient times for medicinal use. It uses include in the food and cosmetic industries; and as animal feed.

Promoting hibiscus flower for business and export: 
Are you aware that hibiscus flower is a money maker? Do you know that the flower cut and thrown to the gutter in some places is planted for export in other places? What really is hibiscus flower? What does it take to export this new commodity? How may you participate in the export of hibiscus and earn foreign currencies? Hibiscus is a plant grown in tropical and sub-tropical countries. Scientifically known as Hibiscus sabdariffa and generally known as Roselle, hibiscus is one of the highest volumes of flower botanically produced globally. Demand for hibiscus has steadily heightened over the last decade. Currently, over 15,000 metric tons enter the international market each year.
Nigeria is one of the top global producers and suppliers of hibiscus. The Nigeria hibiscus is distinct and can grow up to 15 ft. high and 6 ft. wide. It is principally sourced from six states in the northern area of the country, Kano, Kastina, Bauchi, Gombe, Borno and Jigawa. The Nigerian hibiscus industry is estimated at a value of $100 million. In 2017, Nigeria exported about 1,983 containers of hibiscus to Mexico alone, earning $35 million in nine months, according to the Association Of Hibiscus Flower Exporters Of Nigeria (AHFEN)

Despite being profitable, hibiscus has not received adequate attention from agriculturists and investors in Nigeria.
Hibiscus farming encompasses all the procedures in cultivating the hibiscus plant. It involves selecting a good soil; for the plant to thrive, applying fertilizers or manure when necessary, harvesting, and drying etc.

Cultivation of hibiscus flower holds a lot of potential for Nigeria as foreign exchange earner. Though it is one area of farming that has been neglected over the years, it has been discovered to hold a lot of promise in creating employment and wealth. President of Federation Of Agricultural Commodities Association of Nigeria (FACAN) Dr. Victor Iyama said that the commodity has the capacity of generating billions of naira yearly, as it can be cultivated in every part of the country.

In a space of nine months in 2017, between January and September, a total of 1, 983 containers of the flower, worth $ 35m (N12.6b) were exported to Mexico.

According to the AHFEN, dried hibiscus flower is used in the production of hibiscus tea. The tea is a caffeine free herbal tea from a special type of hibiscus, called roselle; the scientific name is hibiscus sabdariffa.

The tea is made out of the dried fruit part of roselle, called calyx, which is red in colour and taste like cranberries. It is also used for the local brew known a Zoborodo (Zobo), and can be processed into hot and cold herbal beverages, jellies, confectioneries, sauces among others. The extracts from hibiscus flowers and leaves have many uses and benefits, either medically or in industrial production. Medical experts said consumption of Zobo made from the leaves aids detoxification. It could help reduce high blood pressure, cholesterol levels, as well as blood sugar levels. It also helps in darkening hair color and slows aging and contains anti-aging properties. This has made it one of the key raw materials in the global confectioneries industry. Hibiscus flower export holds great promise as an economy booster, especially in the era of diversification from oil.

How To Start A Hibiscus Farming Business
Soil preparation: The hibiscus plant thrives well on sandy-loam soil. The ph should be assessed before planting hibiscus plants mature better on acidic soil with a pH of 5.5 to 6.0.

Planting and propagation: Hibiscus can be cultivated in two ways through seed broadcast and stem propagation for stem propagation, cut the stem of the parent plant about 5-6 inches. Liquid fertilizer can be applied underneath the stem to accelerate the establishment, and for proper root formation the propagated stem would take between 8 to 10 weeks before developing roots when  planting with seeds, the seeds should be soaked in water  overnight and then planted in nursery  beds  of already prepared pots or container.

Irrigation: basically, hibiscus prefers steady moisture and decent sunlight for proper blooming. However, according to the soil condition, there should be an arrangement of watering the plants, in the hot and dry season, hibiscus cultivation demands regular watering. If the top leaves turn yellow or are dropping, it indicate water depletion in the soil.

Manuring: Hibiscus requires lots of nutrients, depending on the soil condition. Use a high potassium fertilizer for the excellent blooming of the flowers. Moreover, one can apply garden compost or farmyard manure.

Harvesting: Harvesting of the flowers depends on the variety.

Drying: Only health flowers should be dried. They should be dispersed on a mat or a rack under direct sun rays. Drying can takes just a few days, depending on the intensity of heat applied to it. When completely dried, they would diminish and turn brittle.  Do not spread the flowers after the evening period to avoid early morning dews that could get them moist again. Turn or shuffle flowers day-to-day for the total drying of all the flowers.
Selling: According to the business plan and objective or farming find out the feasible demand.

Why You Should Go Into Hibiscus Farming Business
There are huge profits in hibiscus farming as a perennial crop you plant once and keep on harvesting for a long period of time. So it is a long time earning. The supply chain is few and therefore, requires more farmers to increase planting and more new ones to breach the gap.

Uses of Hibiscus
• It has anti-ageing properties that slow down ageing.
• Hibiscus is a good source of raw materials for food (beverage) industries
• It can be used as colorants and conditioner and shampoo in cosmetic for the darkening of hair
• Zobo leaves lower cholesterol level, has anti-cancer properties.

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