3 Nigerian export products for small scale export business.

When you google how to start a small scale export business and Nigerian export products ideas,  you might end up finding an old school list of conventional export ideas or instructions on how to set up a company name. Yes, set up a company name when you are ready. We all know that we will need to set up a legal structure when the business is booming, right! But  for now, I guess you want to know what export idea areas to venture into and probably you also want more information about Nigerian export products ideas. If this is your goal, be ready to follow me through this blog article as I engage you in a process to think outside the box. 

I guess it is all about finding the right niche, the right Nigerian export products and understanding how to start on a small scale. My goal with this article is to pull you out of the conventional thought process when you think “export ideas” into a deeper and more broadened view of the exportation business. That is actually how we develop ideas in the Joadre lab. Learn more about our Joadre Lab here > . So before I list out 3 unconventional Nigerian export products ideas, let’s be on the same page about what exportation business is really all about.    

Important notes on exportation business in general? 

Exportation business is all about marketing in a global space. Marketing in a global space involves careful planning, producing, placing and promotion of a product and/or SERVICES in a worldwide market space. See that I highlighted services in capital letters. Yes, get ready for some unusual ideas. Exports are goods and services produced in your home community for sale in other markets other than your community where it is produced. So if you produce grandnuts in Auchi and sell them in Lagos, theoritically you have started venturing into Exports. But I know you want the international markets exportation business. Right?

Venturing into international markets simply means that you intend to sell your country product in another country. I do not know why you might want to venture into the export business when the local market is not yet saturated with the local products. Ask yourself this question first. But if you have very good reasons to do so and you want venture into international export to earn for sustainable profits, then you should be ready to make this an intentional  well thought through process. It is not a side business that you dedicate just any spare time towards, except you want to keep it as a side business for small side income. 

From globalisation to colonialism, exportation business has been booming. 

Transporting and trading goods from one country to another has been in existence since mankind existed. Only that, the regions from which a good  was exported from might not have been called a country, instead a kingdom or region. Actually, the whole issue of colonialism started based on the profits made by the Portugese, the English among others, out of trade from Africa. They literally settled shortly at our coast and exported pepper, ivory, gold and more to their countries. 

I will publish content about these historical times, so that you understand where we are coming from, because it often helps you to shape your business ideas if you know more about the economic history of your region. So stay connected by subscribing to my newsletter. As mentioned earlier, Europe literally built its wealth based on the economic value of goods (unfortunately including slaves) that they exported out of Africa. Exportation, in its good sense can help develop an economy and Nigeria needs to expand its portfolio from just oil and gas products to more consumer products. That is why the focus of this blog article will not be on oil and gas products as Nigerian export products, rather more on consumer products that you can start on a small scale. 

What do you want to export?

Before you decide to approach the international market, meaning you want to export products/services out of Nigeria, there are a few things you should think about. First of all, what do you want to export? There are many products that you might not even think of right now that you can export. Have you thought about exporting services? I guess not! People are very focused on “products” exportation, as in tangible products and totally forget services too. Ok then, let’s cover a little about products before we move to services. Here is the classic list of Nigerian export products and their revenues as at a couple of years ago;

  • Crude oil ($36 billion).
  • Petroleum gas ($7 billion).
  • Refined petroleum ($603 million).

So those 3 categories are reserved for the government and their wealthy tribes. 

Other conventional export products are Cocoa beans ($504 Million), Rough wood ($300 million) , then you also have Scrap Copper ($133 million), Tanned Goat Hides ($106 million), Cocoa Butter($76.1 million), Rolled Tobacco ($65.1 million), Rubber ($57.1 million). By the way, Nigerian exports has fallen sharply over the last five years, and so did the import too. We actually import palm oil, sugar, rice, weath, all food worth about $1.9 billion. which signifies that there is a massive market for these food within Nigeria. This is the first think out of the box idea. 

Find your Nigerian export products idea from the imports. 

What about an export business within Nigerian first. Anything that Nigeria imports can become an export good because the fact that Nigeria imports it, already shows you how big the market is within Nigeria. Also think about it, there are many other west African countries with very similar lifestyle to that of Nigerians. So if we buy these products, maybe there is also market to sell them else where.  If there is a local product within your village or region, you can start exporting them to other regions within Nigeria. Then you grow the business to export within West Africa and later expand your reach to outside the continent. Do you understand what I mean? Do you see how this can work from a small scale to a global business? 

Find ways to get these products more effectively from the hidden regions where they are grown and sell them in the cities. How can you make the cultivation more sustainable and effective for the local farmers? The truth is that before you think about exporting, carry out intensive research about the market landscape of what and how Nigeria produces whatever it has to export. If you do not know how to carry out a research, you can visit my tutorial in the 6 key program to learn about how to gather information (tutorial on research) to build your business case.

Nigerian export products – category herbs, fashion and media. 

Since my goal is to share small scale export products in Nigeria, let’s start with another out of the box idea! My number one product category would be tapping into the African Herbal industry. I guess this comes as a surprise right? And no, I am not talking about Babalawos and Native doctors. I will explain further shortly within this blog but if you really want to learn more about the opportunities and which Nigerian export products ideas are available within this sector, make sure to register on my platform for free and join or start a discussion in our community forum

Now number 2 product category is fashion services and my number 3 category is media. Oooohh, now you are wondering. Relax. Subscribe to my newsletter to know when I post details about these ideas and how to start. We are currently developing multiple projects within these sectors and are also scouting for potential partners. So be sure to connect with us on instagram as well. The link is beneath this blog. Here are the sectors listed out again: 

  1. African natural herbal medicine industry – Export raw herbs, semi processed herbs, fully processed herbal based products. 
  2. Fashion industry in Africa – Export services such as mass production ability. Export fabrics that are hand woven. 
  3. The Media industry – Export content created for digital consumption. Venture into documentary and show reality to a global audience. Export services such as photography.
Small scale export product in Nigeria – Herbs.

I cannot even say the herbal industry because there is practically none. When I was researching for this blog section, all I could find was how the industry is unregulated and so on. It is actually called the Tradomedical industry. So when I say herbs or natural medicine, do not mistake this for crazy Tradomedical practices that endanger lives, nor am I talking about the spirituality involved within some Tradomedical concepts. No, I am talking about scientific knowledge and real businesses that’s booming around the world now under the name  of “superfoods”. Most superfoods are made out of  natural herbs which has been scientifically tested to show its sustainable health benefits.  Some come fully processed having extracts of the herbs, while others are semi-processed like being dried up, packaged as a tea.

nigerian export products

Copyright image – https://www.shop.tipuschai.com/ + Grow and Make on amazon.

Startups are making millions from superfood. 

Startup companies in Europe and in the USA have branded natural herbs and processed them into real trendy products, selling millions around the world. Now, here is a fact. Africa is home to over 4000 useful herbs with medical and health benefits. So when you want to start this business on a small scale, apply myone-product-to-market approach. I preach about this approach in my 6 key program. Uhps, if you do not know what the 6 key program is all about, make sure to check the curriculum here. 

In the program, we guide you using tutorials to develop your business idea. If you have internet issues to stream tutorials, you can get the 6 key workbook here as well. You can also get free access to my one-on-one coaching where I dedicate Tuesdays to look through your progress, chat with you and mentor you to the next stage. 

Check my Business insight journal for more on this topic.

Sorry my dear,  I have to cut off this blog article here because I always want you to have time to digest the information. So it has to be short. But if you want to read the full article where I expand on these 3 sectors, like I said earlier, subscribe to my newsletter to know when we release the  Joadre Business Insight Journal vol. 1. Export ideas to start on a small scale. This journal volume will be dedicated to Export for small scale businesses and will be published on the 24th of November. Make sure to get on the pre-sale list HERE to secure your digital copy now! 

By the way, Nigerian export products are not only products. What about services? Did you see what Indian call center agencies are up to? They service the USA. This a  great idea that African entrepreneurs can venture into. It is service export and demand is increasing. More in my upcoming business insight journal.  

There is so much business insights I really want to share with you for free. My team and I are constantly on the road and with our laptops connecting, researching and testing ideas so as to put together the best content for you to launch into success. I will sprinkle more important information on this topic through my free communication channels which are –  Joadre community forum, instagram post, newsletters and monthly podcasts. So make sure you are connected to all my channels not to miss out. The easiest way is to subscribe to my newsletter. Here is a quick recap of this blog article. 

Lets recap and take a step of action.

Exportation business can be built with services, not only products. If you opt in for products, then channel your focus towards consumer goods. Here are 3 industry sectors with some ideas: 

  1. African natural herbal medicine industry – Export raw herbs, semi processed herbs, fully processed herbal based products. 
  2. Fashion industry in Africa – Export services such as mass production ability. Export fabrics that are hand woven. 
  3. The Media industry – Export content created for digital consumption. Venture into documentary and show reality to a global audience. Export services such as photography.

Find ways to approach a product idea with your individual unique perspective. Think outside the box. We are here to assist you. You can join our Joadre community forum for free and you can ask questions. Be sure to leave a comment beneath this blog, so that I can get back to you with more information. I hope I could add value to yyour search for ideas and hey, be loving today. Recommend this blog to your friends. You can share on facebook, twitter or mail it to someone you think needs to know more about this. 

Stay blessed and cheers!


I am Joana, a Nigerian-born Austrian-based entrepreneur and activist. Founded Joadre in 2012 and continue to develop content to engage and empower African SMEs.

The Joadre Analysis & Industry Journal

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