Feature: Malagasy essential oils' "fragrant" journey to China

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, November 5, 2022
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ANTANANARIVO, Nov. 5 (Xinhua) -- Nosy Be, located in northwestern Madagascar, is a small island of about 300 square kilometres, which takes only two hours to drive around. In addition to its beautiful beaches, which always attract many tourists from all over the world, it is also known as the "island of perfumes" for its flourishing ylang-ylang crops.

The ylang-ylang tree is prized for its fragrant flowers from which essential oils are extracted that are widely used in perfumery and aromatherapy. In addition to tourism, the plantation and industrial processing of ylang-ylang is also a key sector in Nosy Be.

For a long time, most of the ylang-ylang essential oils produced in Nosy Be were exported to France. In recent years, due to the slowdown in economic growth and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for essential oils from the traditional market is gradually weakening, prompting companies on this "perfume island" to exploit emerging markets.

In his youth, Andomalala Andriambololona worked for a French essential oil company. In 2020, he started his own business while taking over a 15-hectare ylang-ylang plantation in Nosy Be. Unlike other traditional businesses, Mr. Andomalala's company exports about 70 percent of its production to the Chinese market.

Despite the creation of his company in the midst of the new coronavirus pandemic, he has maintained contact with his Chinese partners via the internet. Fortunately, he said the volume of sales of essential oils on the Chinese market has increased gradually over the past three years. And he has already received orders for 750 kilos of essential oils from China since the beginning of the year, whereas his company had only exported between 400 and 500 kilos in 2020.

This year, Andomalala's company is to participate for the first time in the 5th China International Import Expo (CIIE) due to be held in Shanghai on Nov. 5-10, along with three other Malagasy companies. He has carefully selected 14 types of oils from ylang-ylang, geranium, ravintsara, ginger, baobab, tamanou, medulla to cactus to be displayed during the CIIE.

Having tasted the benefits of the Chinese market, the entrepreneur has high expectations of the CIIE. "We obviously hope to have customers to expand our company. I hope to get orders for tons of oils," he said, confident that his products will strengthen their presence in the Chinese market in the long term.

Although Madagascar, located in the western Indian Ocean, and China are separated by seas and oceans, the two countries still have close bilateral trade relations. China has been Madagascar's largest trading partner for seven years. Observers believe that with greater participation of Malagasy companies in the CIIE to increase their market share in China, steady growth in their exports looks promising. Enditem

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