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Proceedings of the International Plant Propagator's Society

Vol. 54

Essential Oils: Are They Worth Considering as an Alternative Crop?

R.A. Learmonth

pp: 69-74

The South Africa (SA) essential oil industry, in 2004, is poised to become a significant player in the international essential oil market.

Its beginnings can be traced back to the 1950 when the CSIR archives show numerous requests for assistance and some early research. The citrus and eucalyptus essential-oil productions developed first, largely due to various pioneers but it was not until the 1990s that the SA farming community showed significant interest in essential-oil farming. This revival can be attributed to many political, economic, market, and technical factors. The intensive research programme of the CSIR into the scientific and market development needs of a SA essential-oil industry played a major role, supported by Biosys Ltd., United Kingdom, now the major share holder of Biosys Plant Extracts (Pry) Ltd.

Well established commercial farmers can, in 2004, annually produce and sell about R10 million worth of essential oils and the potential for growth is exciting.

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