Rose geranium essential oils

Nursery Operations

Started: 2006
Funders: Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC), SASIX, Department of Trade and Industry
Funder’s investment: R12 million
Scope of project: 45 hectares of rose geranium, part of ECDC’s essential oils hub

Project factfile

• The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) initially researched the project after which the foundation was given start-up funding by the Eastern Cape Development Corporation. Root stock was purchased from the CSIR.
• DBSA then funded two propagation nurseries so that the planted area could be extended.
• Thousands of rooted cuttings have been distributed each year since 2006 to increase the resource.
• The foundation has a R600,000 distillation plant which consists of 2 by 1 ton pots.
• The distillation plant can process up to 40 hectares of rose geranium per annum.
• These sites belong to local emerging farmers who provide the bulk of the distillation’s plant material.
• The oil, produced by the foundation and tested by Dohne Agricultural Research Institute and the CSIR, is of excellent quality.
• The overseas market has been explored by the foundation with indications that it will generate excellent income.
• Beneficiation of the oils is a future option.

• Further funding has been secured and in July 2015 Siyakholwa Development Foundation will be establishing 8 out growers (farmer units) taking full control in the crop production on their lands and providing rose geranium bio mass to the central processing plant at Siyakholwa Development Foundation.

It is also envisioned that phase two of this project will be to develop well established farmer units to progress and introduce value adding components where they may be able to make products that use the oil as an ingredient or package the oil into smaller containers.