Qobo Qobo Essential Oils
The vision of Qobo Qobo is to become a financially profitable grower and supplier of Essential Oils that provides a consistently top-quality oil meeting and ensuring customer satisfaction through continuous improvement. Qobo Oobo will also create awareness and promote and sell natural products and essential oils to the wider public.
The Essential oils programme was established in 2006 on a small scale and the potential here is endless. In partnership with South African Breweries Foundation, Qobo Qobo Essential Oils is a non-profit organization which establishes eight independent farmer units from Keiskamahoek in the Eastern Cape to grow rose geranium for profit.
The sites belong to local emerging farmers who provide the bulk of the distillation’s plant material and who take full control in the crop production on their lands and provide rose geranium bio mass to the central processing plant at Siyakholwa Development Foundation.
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.
The Development Bank of South 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 while 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. The oil, produced by the foundation and tested by Dohne Agricultural Research Institute and the CSIR, is of some of the finest quality in the world.
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.
It is also envisioned that phase two of this project will be to develop well-established farmer units to progress and introduce value-added components where they may be able to make products that use the oil as an ingredient or package the oil into smaller containers.
Qobo Qobo is overseen by Brian and Jeri du Plessis.
The Vetiver Conservation Initiative
The Vetiver Conservation Initiative was initiated in partnership with the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and Bountiful Grains.
The “Vetiver grass project” have been implemented for conservation practice and the building of “Stone Check Dams” for donga reclamation. This labour-intensive practice produces a significant benefit to communal lands through conservation of soil, water and nutrients.
Siyakholwa Business has a nursery of the order of 10,000 plants that are being sold for stocking new areas.