part 1 DIRECTORY OF COMMODITIES
is a white, waxy substance, which is extracted from the camphor laurel, by passing
steam through the pulverised wood of the tree, which is usually at least 50 years
old before it is harvested.
camphor is then purified by sublimation. An essential oil, camphor oil, is derived
from camphor. The tree is common in China but natural camphor is also produced
in Taiwan (the main exporter) and Japan. Camphor is now also made synthetically
from α-pinine, a component of turptine.
has many uses. Medicinally it is used to treat mild burns (when it has an analgesic
and cooling effect) and in skin rubs (where it has an analgesic and cooling effect)
and in skin rubs (where it has a warning effect). It is also as an insect repellent,
especially for moths, and as a plasticiser in the production of cellulose nitrate.
Locally it is used as a component of incense.
oil, Chinese cif Europe per kilo:
- £1.22 sterling, 1992 – US$2.70, 1993 – US$2.10, 1994 – US$1.60, 1995 – US$1.65.
early 1995 in Europe, BP grade synthetic camphor was trading at £2.5 sterling
per kilo and natural BP grade camphor was trading at £4.87 sterling a kilo.
oil is distilled from the flowers of a tree, which is closely related to the tree
from which ylang-ylang oil is derived, but the tree is taller and grows in different
oil is produced in the same way as ylang-ylang oil but its perfumed is said to
be less delicate. It is, therefore, considered an inferior product and is used
for cheaper perfumes.
US$ per kilo. Cif Europe:
– 19.5, 1993 – 23, 1994 – 23, 1995 – 59.
wax is found in the form of whitish scales that cover a reed- like plant, which
grows wild in Texas and Mexico. It is exported exclusively by Mexico.
plant, which grows up to 3 feet high, is immersed in boiling water containing
a little sulphuric acid to remove the wax. The wax floats to the surface where
it is skimmed off and strained. It is then cooked slightly to remove excess moisture
and cast into irregular lumps. To refine the product it is melted, passed through
filter presses and bleached.
wax is hard, brittle and aromatic. It is similar in many ways to carnauba wax
but is considered inferior in that it does not emulsify or saponify (make soap
in the presence of an alkali) as readily. In addition, it has a lower melting
point and it takes longer (several days) to reach maximum hardness after melting.
Some sources are also a little sticky. It is, therefore, often used as an extender
in many uses for the more expensive carnauba wax. It does not blend well with
wax is used in high quality furniture polishes but also for dressing leather,
carbon paper and varnishes.
quality can be defined by its melting point, which is between 124 and 156 degrees
F for standard wax but between 158 and 162 degrees F for the refined product.
Individually buyers specify the range of physical and chemical product, these
might include specific gravity, acid number, saponification number, iodine number
and the refractive index. In addition, they might specific maximum ash and moisture
content as well as colour and odour characteristics. The product should be guaranteed
to be original virgin product and contain no other added substance.
market for candelills wax is buyoyant during periods when carnauba wax is in short
fob, US per tonne:
– 2600, 1992 – 2205, 1993 – 2600, 1994 – 2800, 1995 – 3400.
is a spice derived from the seeds of a perennial plant. World trade in cardamon
is about 10,000 tonnes. India is the largest producer with about 7000 tonnes
of production, followed by Guatemala (the largest exporter) with a production
of about 5000 tonnes. Other important producers are Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Costa
Rica and Papua New Guinea.
starts 4 years after planting and the plants are dung up and replanted every 15
years or so. The plants almost grow wild, needing very little attention. These
seeds are contained in small pods, which must be picked before they are fully
ripe (mainly to avoid spillage from split pods). The pods are then washed and
dried either in the sun (for a lower-grade product) or in kilns. White seeds
may have been chemically bleaches to ensure a uniform appearance.
seeds are generally sold in their pod but they can be sold separately. They are
also marketed in spice combinations such as garam masala. They are used in curries
and pickles and also in toilertries.
with coffee, cardamon is used to make a popular drink called gahwa in many Arab
countries (especially Saudi Arabia). For that reason these countries represent
the largest export market for the spice. Guatemala is having difficulty reconciling
its huge cardamon sales to Arab countries with its close political and military
links with Israel.
countries are the next most importers. It is used there in many types of breads
is decided largely on density (grams per litre).
seeds US$ per kg cif Europe:
– 3.50, 1992 – 3.75, 1993 – 3.90, 1994 – 8.00, 1995 – 00
WAX (Also known as ceara wax)
wax covers the fan-shaped leaves of a South American palm tree called the ‘tree
of life’, which grows up to 13 metres in height. The wax is extracted from trees,
which grow in the dry regions of the northeast states of Brazil and can flourish
for 200 years. There has been a long history of cultivation of the tree, including
the fencing and protection of natural groves and the establishment of plantations
in the same region.
the same species of tree grows in other areas of South America and in tropical
Africa and Sri Lank, it does not produce the wax in those areas. Indeed, when
rainfall levels are high in its native Brazil, wax production is very small.
The tree only produces the wax to protect its leaves from evaporation. Total
production is in excess of 20,000 tonnes per year, of which about half is exported
to the USA.
wax is obtained from the young leaves of the plant, which are gathered in the
dry season and placed in the sun until the wax on the surface of the leaves dries
to a fine dust, which is removed by threshing. Ti is then melted and strained.
After cooling, the wax is broken up into blocks, which may be yellow to dark grey
in colour. Alternatively, the wax can be recovered mechanically using a machine
called the Guarany-ciclone leaf chopper. Owners of such a machine often rent
it out to large producers in return for a share of the wax. The harvesting of
the leaves can begin at about 8 to 10 years after planting.
colour of the wax is an indicator of the quality of the product, which, in turn,
is dependent on the age of the leaves and the care with which the wax has been
1 ‘first’ grade is yellow, Number 2 ‘Medium’ grade is between yellow and grey,
and Number 3 ‘sandy’ grade is dark grey and has a rough texture. Crude carnauba
is powder. The refined grades of the wax should contain no more than 1.5 per
cent moisture and have a melting point of between 82.5 and 86 degrees C.
buyers require their own physical and chemical specifications of the refined product,
which may include limits on such criteria as flash point, specific gravity, saponification
number (the ease with which it forms a soap with an alkali), iodine number and
wax is the hardest and has the highest melting point of any natural wax. It is
water resistant and can hold a high polish. Carnauba wax emulsifies as a clear
liquid, which makes it ideal for quality floor and furniture polishes, which generally
have a base of paraffin or beeswax. It is also used in the ‘lost wax’ metal-casting
process and in lipstick and varnishes.
high prices that have been reached for the wax have encouraged the use of synthetic
and other natural substitutes, but carnauba wax is still preferred.
yellow Brazilian fob, US$ per tonne:
– 4850, 1992 – 5625, 1993 – 3310, 1994 – 2425, 1995 – 8270. (1995 fatty grey –
SAGRADA (Also known as sacred bark)
drug is made from the bark of a species of buckthorn tree, which is cultivated
for the purpose in Kenya and the USA.
active ingredient, which is prepared in liquid and solid form, is used in tiny
amounts to augement other flavourings such as vanilla and caramel in ice –creams
and baked goods. In large doses it is used medically as a laxative
bark must be dried for at least a year before use.
Europe, £. Sterling per kilo.
– 1.97, 1993 – 1.95, 1994 – 2.32, 1995 – 2,45.
dried bark of the cascarilla tree, grown in Cuba, the Bahamas and Haiti, is added
locally to smoking tobacco for flavouring and is used for spicing drinks. The
light yellow oil obtained by steam distillation of the bark is used to flavour
some drinks (root beer) and cakes, particularly in the United States.
bark is marketed as short, thin, brittle rolls.
is the bitter fruit of the cashew nut tree. Cashew nut tress start fruiting three
years after planting, but maximum yields are produced after ten years. It is
eaten locally but often made into a jam or drinks. It is not considered likely
that it will become popular in Northern countries. There is very little international
trade in cashew apples.
Main producers (tonnes)
main market for cashews is in whole kernels. Large nuts fetch a higher price
than small nuts. The commercial grading of whole kernels is based on the number
of nuts per Ib weight. The accepted range is as follows:
than 210 to the Ib
than 240 to the Ib
than 320 to the Ib
than 450 to the Ib
are usually between 5 and 10 per cent more expensive than 450s.
nuts are cheaper than whole kernels and are given the following names: ‘splits’
are nuts that have split along their natural transverse axis; ‘butts’ are nearly
whole nuts. In addition, there are ‘large pieces’ and ‘baby bits’.
are about 80 per cent of the value of whole kernels and large pieces are about
60 per cent.
USA is the world’s largest importer of cashews, followed by Europe, Japan, Australia
and Canada. Large quantities are also consumed in producing countries.
are eaten as cocktail and as snacks. Split and broken nuts are used in confectionery
and baking. In some producing countries the cashew ‘apple’, which accompanies
the nut on the tree, is made into a non-alcoholic drink (feni).
all cashews are harvested from wild trees or from trees grown by smallholders.
The raw nut is heated in cashew nut shell liquid (extracted from previously harvested
nuts) to extract more liquid from the new nuts. The shell is then removed mechanically,
or laboriously by hand, depending on local economic conditions. The inner shell
or ‘testa’ is then removed and the nuts are graded and packed.
nuts can be successfully stored for more than a year. In Brazil the cashew apple,
which normally rots 24 hours after picking, is made into edible flour in some
processing plants. The cashew nut tree is relatively easy to grow but takes 3-4
years before bearing nuts and a further 3-4 years before reaching maturity.
nuts need to be free of dirt and girt and must therefore be shelled, roasted and
graded in clean conditions. Too much heating can result in scorching of the nuts,
which can reduce their commercial value somewhat.
important is the control of aflatoxin (fungus infestation) in the nut. EC legislation
puts a statutory limit of 4µ per kilo for nuts imported for further processing
before human consumption.
should be vacuum packed for export in tins or cartons weighing between 10 and
20 kilos. Cashew nut shell liquid, which is used as cooking oil as well as in
the processing of cashews, is normally transported in steel drums.
the large amount of hard, dirty work involved in cashew production, the cashew
nut is a relatively cheap product. Changes in the cost of labour, lack of pest
control in Africa, reductions in incentive schemes in Brazil and lack of banking
credit for farmers, especially in India, could have the effect of limiting future
production. The nut faces competition from corn chips, potato crisps, the peanut,
and now the macadamia nut.
is a lively local market in most producing countries, but nuts for the major export
markets need to be processed in clean, organised conditions. This means that
fairly large processing plants, often employing hundreds of workers, are the major
suppliers to the export trade. These plants make contract with the local agents
of large, multinational traders who handle both nuts and cashew shell nut liquid.
US$ per Ib cif UK:
– 2.72, 1992 – 2.68, 1993 – 2.45, 1994 – 2.40, 1995 – 1.96.
CASSAVA (Also known as manioc, tapioca, yucca
cassava – Manihot dulcis, white cassava – Manihot utilissima
are two main varities of cassava – the sweeter yellow varieties and the white
varieties. It is a staple diet for some indigenous peoples in parts of Central
and South America, where it is a native plant, and in parts of Africa and Asia,
where it was introduced. It is grown in damp and dry, tropical and subtropical
regions but grows better in humid, tropical climates. It is eaten as a vegetable
or an ingredient in stews and soups all over the tropics, but it is also often
grown as a reserve ‘famine crop’ in case other staples fail. It is otherwise
fed to animals. It is not very nutritious.
it is used to make sodium glutamate, glucose and starch.
tubers begin to grow about two months after planting and need to be harvested
in less than one year, as after that time they become woody and the starch content
starts to decrease. White varieties develop a toxic level of cyanide and have
to be specially prepared (usually employing some form of fermentation) before
eating. The tubers are usually dug up with a spade as mechanical digging reduces
the yield and damages the crop.
Main cassava producers (thousands of tonnes)
cassava is exported by several other countries, including Costa Rica, Kenya, Puerto
Rico, Uganda and Caribbean countries. It is conventionally traded in 5 kg to
20 kg cartons.
obtain the starch, the tubers are crushed, washed and filtered. Topioca is the
starchy product derived from cassava, made by washing and filtering the crushed
tubers. The starch passes through the filter and is held in suspension in the
water until it is settled out in tanks as a kind of cake. The damp flour is then
put in a heated, rotating pan, which rolls it into small balls.
regulations for imported topioca in most developed countries require standards
of cleanliness that are too high for producers in developing countries to meet.
This means that the product has to be recleaned in the consuming country before
it can be sold for human consumption.
1995 cassava was retailing in London at £0.45 sterling per Ib. this suggests that
the cif Europe price at the time was about US$0.75 per kilo.
tapioca was trading in 1995 at about US$650 per tonne cif Europe.
cinnamomum cassia and cinnamomum burmanni
bark of the cassia laurel and other species related to cinnamon are used widely
(especially in the USA which takes almost half the world’s exports) as an alternative
to true cinnamon.
is the main exporter with about two-thirds of the approximately 25,000 tonnes
of world trade. China is also an important producer. Vietnam, Taiwan and India
are minor producers. The cassia trade recognises two main varieties. Cassia
vera (from C. burmannii), produced in Indonesia , is supplied in the form of regular
sized ‘quills’ of dried rolled bark similar to the form in which most cinnamon
is supplied. Cassia lignea) is supplied by the Chinese in the form of longer,
thicker strips of bark with a more irregular shape. Broken pieces of bark are
marketed at lower prices.
has a stronger but less delicate flavour than cinnamon and is sometimes called
Chinese cinnamon. It can be used whole (dried curls of bark) or in a ground form
as flavouring in breads, cakes, and biscuits savoury dishes and, especially in
the US, in soft drinks. An essential oil which can be extracted from the bark
(mainly cassia lignea), twigs and leaves of the plant which is used in the food
processing industry and in perfumery.
bark is stripped from the smaller branched and dried. In Indonesia cassia is
largely grown by smallholders and sold to village dealers for onward sale to exporters.
There have been attempts to require state licences for exporters as members of
the Cassia Exporters Association, and to set minimum prices and quotas. Such
efforts have been successful, however.
trade in cassia oil is estimated at about 125 tonnes, of which China is the main
producer and the USA the main consumer (about 80 per cent of the total).
whole cassia lignea, cif Europe. US$ per tonne:
– 2500, 1992 – 2500, 1993 – 2500, 1994 – 2500, 1995 – 1900.
SEED (and CASTOR OIL)
main producers of castor seed (thousands of tonnes of oil content in seeds)
occurs in seeds (sometimes referred to inaccurately as beans crude castor oil
and modified oil.
first crushing of the seeds, ‘firsts’, gives high-quality oil for immediate use
known as cold press oil. This oil can be used in medicine but is mainly used
in lubricants and cosmetics.
press oil, ‘seconds’, is produced on the second crushing or solvent extraction
of the seeds. This product cannot be used for human consumption unless it is
chemically modified. Indeed, there are several types of modified oil, which are
tailor-made for the oil’s various industrial uses.
China, the former USSR and Brazil, four of the most important castor oil producers,
are also very large consumers. Otherwise, Europe, USA and Japan are the largest
consumers, in that order.
seeds are poisonous. However, the oil, when crushed from the seed, is not poisonous
and can be consumed, specifically for use as a laxative. Oil extracted with the
use of solvents contains some of the poisonous alkaloids contained in the seed
as an ingredient in hydraulic fluids, plasticisers, adhesives, wetting and dyeing
agents, soaps, greases, insecticides and fungicides, flavourings, perfumes, fabric
softeners and even jet engine lubricants.
residue left over from the seed, after oil extraction, cannot be used to feed
livestock but is used as fertiliser.
seed is grown commercially on plantations but also harvested from wild plants.
The seed must be hulled after harvesting. This can be done laboriously by hand
or, more commonly, by machine. Small-scale hand-operated dehullers are available.
seeds contain about 50 percent oil by weight. To extract the oil they must be
crushed and pressed with hydraulic or continuous screw pressing at high or low
temperature. High temperature hydraulic pressing yields 80 percent of available
oil. Further solvent extraction can release much of the remaining oil.
of the oil is achieved by a variety of chemical processes including oxidation,
hydrogenation and thermal treatments to produce products for specific applications.
This work is largely undertaken in importing countries.
castor plant is an annual in the form of a shrub and there are many verities for
farmers to choose from. It will grow in poor soil but is attacked by a wide range
of insects. Storage of the seed in sunlight reduces the oil content.
half the world’s castor seeds are produced in the state of Gujarat in western
India. Castor oil producers in the state are making very large investments to
increase production for export (export figures are said to be rising to 185,000
tonnes by the end of 1995) and the growing domestic market. Some of this investment
has come from a joint venture with Brazil, which has become a net importer of
the oil. China is also consuming more oil, resulting in lower Chinese exports.
of castor oil has fallen drastically in the former Soviet Union owing to the political
and economic changes that have occurred there.
are sensitive to price movements of castor oil on the Bombay futures market, which
can be manipulated by rumours and speculation.
output has led to wide fluctuation of prices over recent years. A hybrid variety
of castor developed by the processing company Braswey for trials in Brazil is
said to be extremely productive (800 kg/ha) and may reduce the price of castor
origin, ex tank Rotterdam, US$ per tonne:
– 820, 1992 – 820, 1993 – 800, 1994 – 900, 1995 – 820.
is a tall perennial herb, which grows in lowland area of Central and South American
and in the Caribbean. The wax is exuded by the plant to cover the leaves. It
is said to be almost as useful as carnauba wax in floor and furniture polishes,
but it contains resins, which necessitate further processing before it can be
used in some higher-specification applications.
production in the area is still on trial basis. The leaves of the plant can be
harvested after one year. The wax is removed by the mechanical beating of the
dried leaves. The resulted powdered was is then melted in hot water before it
is skimmed off and solidified.
CHAYOTE (also known as chow chow, vegetable pear)
bland-tasting vegetable is a member of the squash family outside producing countries
it is almost exclusively eaten by Chinese and West Indian ethnic communities.
It is exported by Brazil, Costa Rica and France.
early 1995 the wholesale price for Costa Rican chayote in the London market was
£7 sterling for a 10kg carton.
cherimoya is considered to be one of the most delicious exotic fruit and, for
that reason, it has established a market in developed countries. France and the
UK are the main European markets and each imports a few hundred tonnes a year.
It is exported from Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Kenya, Lebanon,
Spain, Thailand and USA.
the fruit is very perishable and are adversely affected by cool conditions. This
makes transport to markets very difficult unless a high degree of production and
packing control is used and transport is made by air.
are usually packed in 4 to 5kg cartons containing 12, 16,19 or 20 fruit.
CHICK-PEA (also known as gram, garbanzo)
chickpea is the world’s third most important legume crop. It grows on an annual,
which reaches about 60 cm in height. The pods of the plant contain only one or
two peas. They are a particularly important food in India.
main producers of chick-peas (thousands of tonnes)
are often grown as a mixed crop with cereals. The crop takes between 90 and 180
days to reach maturity, depending on the climate. The peas are traditionally
harvested by hand and threshed by bullocks trampling on them. In more developed
regions these processes are carried out mechanically. They should be dried to
a moisture level of between 8 and 15 per cent for storage. The peas can be ground
into flour or can be eaten (especially in the Indian subcontinent) as the thick
soup, dhal. They are the main ingredients of hummus, the Middle Eastern dish.
Turkish, cif UK, US$ per tonne:
– 360, 1992 – 380, 1993 – 420, 1994 – 420, 1995 – 715.
became an important crop during the first part of the twentieth century as the
gum used to make chewing gum. One of America’s leading chewing gum brands takes
its name from the gum.
is the sap of the 10 metre high sapodilla tree and is collected mainly from tress
that grow in the Yacatan province of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize. It can be
collected by making cuts in the bark of the tree. The gum oozes out in form of
a white liquid with the viscosity of honey and is collected in a cup at the foot
of the tree. This liquid coagulates into a pinkish, rubber-like gum, which becomes
quite soft in moderate temperatures.
demand for chicle fell as fast as it had risen with the introduction of synthetic
gums in the 1940s. This trend may have been reversed in recent years, however.
There seems to be a growing demand for ‘natural’ chewing gum, especially in the
United States, with more people being prepared to pay a little extra for chewing
gum made with chicle.
has some other uses, notably for waterproofing and insulation.
CHILLIES (also known as paprika, cayenne pepper, red pepper)
are many different verities of caspsiums, of which chillies are a sub-class.
Some members of the caspsicum genus, including sweet peppers and paprika (which
is a variety of chilli representing only about 5 per cent of total chilli production)
are grown mainly in temperate climates. There are well over a million tons of
dried chillies produced a year, of which more than 95 per cent are consumed in
the country where they are grown. India alone produces about half a million tonnes.
China and Pakistan are both large producers and export a greater proportion of
their production than India. Otherwise, most tropical countries produce chillies.
Mexico is a major supplier to the US market but the US produces chillies as well,
notably a variety used to produce Tabasco sauce. Some of the hottest chillies
are grown in Central and Southern Africa.
are mainly traded in dries or powder (ground) form. Developed countries usually
specify minimum standards. The British Standards Institution specifies that dried
chillies, whole or ground, should contain not more than 11 per cent moisture,
10 per cent total ash and 1.6 per cent maximum of total ash insoluble in hydrochloric
vary greatly in pungency (hotness), which is commonly measured in Scoville units.
Mild paprika might measure 30,000 Scoville units, while a really pungent African
chilli might measure 1 million on this scale.
dried chillies are usually bought free of caps and tems. Buyers look for redness
in the skins of chillies or paprika to be used as a colouring agent.
countries apply tight phytosanitary regulations, especially on bacterial contamination
on processed spices, and ban certain fumigants.
chillies are used as a food but their main use, especially in developed countries,
is a spice or flavouring in cooking or in pickles. Ground chillies are the most
common form of the product when used as a spice, which can be variously described
as chilli powder, paprika, red pepper, cayenne pepper or, erroneously, as pimento.
Chillies are used as a condiment in many countries but their main use is to flavour
cooked meats, corn chips, sausages, etc, and as an essential ingredient in curry
powders are certain sauces.
red of the dried ripe chilli is used to colour the products to which it is added.
The essential oil, known as oleoresin, is usually extracted from the most pungent
varsities and used to flavour food products on an industrial scale.
small quantities of chillies are used in pharmaceutical products.
great bulk of chillies are used by the people who grow them – namely smallholders
in South-East Asia.
world trade in chillies and paprika is about 40,000 tonnes each year. Paprika
is almost exclusively grown in Spain and Hungary and is used mainly in Northern
countries, however, and so is not a tropical product.
major chilli importers are Asian countries. Malaysia, Korea and Japan are particularly
popularity of Mexican food in the USA has increased US demand and imports, especially
from Mexico. Europe is also an important market for exporters.
hot chillies grown in Africa, Papua New Guinea and South and Central America have
their own niche market.
chillies are grown in gardens or small plots and consumed by the people who grow
them. They are usually grown in rotation with other crops. Although they can
be grown as perennials, more pungent fruit are said to be produced when the plants
are grown as an agricultural crop.
in developed countries prefer mechanically dried rather than sundries chillies,
as they are less to be damaged by rodents and insects or contaminated with earth,
mould or other foreign material. For the same reason, buyers tend to reject chillies
that have been stores too long in their country of origin.
produce chilli powder, the fruit is dried, washed thoroughly in very clean water,
dried again and ground to a powder, which will pass through a 40-mesh sieve.
Less pungent powder is produced by removing the seeds before grinding. A 10 per
cent maximum moisture content is considered necessary by most buyers.
most important feature of the chilli market is the massive production and consumption
in Eastern countries. World trade is only a small fraction of this quantity.
international trade is in dried chillies.
relatively recent increase in popularity of “Tex-Mex” food in the USA and Canada
and of Eastern foods in Europe, especially the UK, has meant an increase in Northern
consumption and imports of chillies.
tight quality and phyosanitary regulations applied by developed countries to spice
imports have meant that most grinding of dried chillies into powder has occurred
in the importing countries. However, there are some indications, notably in India,
that producing countries are successfully marketing the ground product to consuming
countries. If producers are able to produce a high-specification product, they
are able to increase its value considerably.
developed countries protect their grinding industries by imposing no duty on whole
spices and a duty on the ground product. Any prospective exporter of ground spices
should examine this factor before investing in processing.
spice trade is much less dominated than it once was by large, specialist trading
companies based in consuming countries and doing everything from negotiating with
individual producers, grinding spices in developed countries are now buying mainly
from local grinders and the grinders are increasingly buying direct from source.
few spice-trading companies that do exist tend to sell to grinders and trade in
the more exotic products. US buyers still tend to source their African chillies
from European traders, for instance.
trading companies based developing countries but owned by Asians are becoming
increasingly successful, particularly in supplying spices for the Asian minority
population and Eastern restaurants in Weatern countries.
origin US$ per tonne, cir Europe:
– 2750, 1992 – 3000, 1993 – 3700, 1994 – 3500, 1995 – 2750.
is a spice made from the dried, yellowish-brown inner bark of a bushy evergreen
Lanka supplies 80 percent of the world’s exports, which total about 10,000 tonnes.
Kenya, Madagascar and the Seychelles are other important suppliers.
is harvested from both cultivated trees and from the wild. The bark is collected
by coppicing the tree every two years, beginning about four to five years after
planting. The tree reaches its maximum yield after about ten years. The outer
bark from the branches (straight branches are preferred) is first removed. The
inner bark is then stripped, rolled into ‘quills’ and dried in the sun. Thin
bark produces the best quality spice.
Lanka has a complicated grading system based on the thickness of the bark and
the diameter of the quills. ‘Rough unscrapped barl’ (exported especially from
the Seychelles) and chips of bark are sold at lower prices.
is a sweet spice and has very wide range of uses as flavouring in curries, cakes,
biscuits, breads, and in mulled wine and other drinks. The Japanese use it to
flavour tea and the Mexican use of cinnamon in hot chocolate represents a very
large part of the market. The spice is retailed as quills or dry, ground powder.
An essential oil made from the bark and leaves of the tree is used for flavouring
some mass-produced food products and in perfumery.
1977 Sri Lanka operated a state monopoly buying system but this scheme had to
be abandoned owing to overproduction.
per tonne, cif Europe:
- £580 sterling, 1992 - £700 sterling, 1993 - £760 sterling, 1994 – US$1150, 1995
winterianus and cymbopogon nardus
oil is one of the most important essential oils, derived from two related types
of grass. Its market has been eroded by chemicals synthesised from turpentine,
which it is derived from coniferous trees.
are two types of citronella oil. Oil derived from cymbopogon winterianus is known
as ‘Java type’ and that from cymbopogon nardus as ‘Ceylon’ type. Both are used
to make cheap, ‘lemony’ perfumes for such things as toilet soap, household cleaners
and aerosols designed to mask unpleasant smells. The Java-type oil is much richer
in two chemical isolates – geraniol and citronellal. Both these chemicals have
a different use in the perfumery industry as part of more expensive and delicate
perfumes, especially lily of the valley fragrances.
citronella and its derivatives are preferred by the perfume industry to similar
compounds synthesised from turpentine and, after many years of decline owing to
substitution by these products, the citronella oil market has slowly begun to
improve. This may not last, however, if the price becomes too high.
grasses from which the oil is produced can be grown in a wide variety of climates
provided they are not subjected to frost. The grass can be harvested a few months
after planting and the oil obtained by simple steam distillation.
main producers are china and Indonesia, who each produce about 40 per cent of
the world’s supply. The oil also produced in Brazil. Sri Lanka, Argentina, Guatemala,
Jamaica, Vietnam. Thailand, Mexico, India, Honduras and South Africa. Much of
the oil is used domestically. Toal annual world production is about 4000 tonnes.
cif Europe, US$ per kilo:
– 3.80, 1993 – 4.90, 1994 – 8.00, 1995 – 13.5.
production of cloves exceeds 60,000 tonnes per year, about a third of which is
produced and consumed in Indonesia
Main exporters (tonnes)
important exporters are China, Grenada, Malaysia and Mozambique.
are classified to the country of origin, but appearance is important for the retail
market. Cloves are preferred if they have stout stems and large, unbroken heads.
Low-quality cloves are retailed in the ground form of the spice or processed for
the production of clove oil.
30 per cent of all cloves produced are exported. In Indonesia, the world’s largest
clove – producing and consuming country, cloves are used to make the Indonesian
‘kretek’, clove –flavouring cigarette. In most other producing countries, the
majority of production is exported. The USA is the world’s largest importer and
takes most of Brazil’s exports. India is a very large consumer of cloves and
sources most of its supply from Sri Lanka.
largest use of cloves is in the Indonesian cigarette industry. Most other uses
are as a spice in the flavouring of cakes, meat dishes, sausages, pickles and
dressings. Industrial food manufacturers are often able to use the cheaper, ground
clove stems as a substitute for the clove bud.
oils derived from the clove bud and other parts of the plant, such as the leaves,
are also used for flavouring, but as they have local anaesthetic properties they
are employed to relieve toothache. They are also used in the production of fragrances
and as an insect repellent.
are the dried, unopened flower buds of the 12-metre tall clove tree. They appear
in clusters on the tree and become dark red at the time they are picked, which
is done by hand. They are dried in the sun or by exposure to wood smoke. The
clove tree is grown from seed and raised in a nursery plantation for one year.
It becomes ready for harvesting 7 years after planting and reaches full production
after 20 years. The tree lives for between 60 and 100 years.
essential oil is extracted by repeated distillation with water.
was once the largest importer of cloves, importing almost 8000 tonnes in 1982.
Indonesia’s more recent drive to self-sufficiency has reduced its importers to
a fraction of that figure and caused the international price of cloves to fall
dramatically. Cloves were once among the most highly prized spices on the international
market, but the price has fallen sharply over recent years. In the early 1980s,
the price of cloves was over £5000sterling per tonne compared to the price in
1995 of only one-tenth of that value. It is quite astonishing that growers receive
such a small reward for producing a tonne of cloves containing between 10 and
20 million individual picked buds.
Madagascar, US$ per tonne, cif Europe:
– 2000, 1992 – 1475, 1993 – 850, 1994 – 850, 1995 – 750.
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