One major achievement of the present civilian administration has been the revival and growth of the non-oil export market in Nigeria.
Non-oil export has recorded a tremendous increase of one hundred and twelve point four percent (112.4%) in nine years spanning 2001 to 2010 with annual average growth figure of ten point thirty-four percent (10.34 %).
Hardwood charcoal is one of the key export commodities in Nigeria. Though a viable business but the rate at which new entrant are coming into the business is increasing depleting the rate of return on investment in the sector hence the need to diversify to a product with less competition and good rate of return on investment.
Sawdust briquette is compressed sawdust. They are produced from dry sawdust and the resulting compressed dust comes out in a solid and cylindrical shape. It can also be in different shapes. The conversation is done through the briquetting machine and the briquette does not require any binding agent or chemical adhesive.
They are used as cooking fuel in hotels, boarding school/hostels, eateries and factories where boilers are being used.
The product is marketed according to the grading briefly as follows:-
Grade "A"- void of cracks, hard with metallic sound when rolled and lengthy (not more than 4 pcs in a length of 390mm).
Grade "B"- with minimum cracks, hard and not less than 75 mm in length.
Grade "C"- as "B" except the length is not less than 50 mm in length.
Based on emission of smoke, Sawdust briquette can be classified into carbonized and Non-carbonized. The carbonized sawdust briquette does not emit smoke during combustion and it attracts a high market value than the non- carbonized briquette that emits smoke during combustion.
The renewable energy industry is a multi-billion industry. It is large, sustainable and growing. It is estimated that the United Kingdom alone consumes more than one hundred thousand (100,000) metric tons of sawdust briquette annually.
Sawdust briquette, a renewable fuel, has a seasonal market and the season differs from country to country due to difference in climatic conditions.
For countries like Holland, France, Germany, Denmark, Belgium and United Kingdom their sales season is from may through august because that is their summer time. In countries like Kuwait, Israel and some Asian countries, their order is all year round.
During the era of late Gen. Sanni Abacha, sawdust ranked amongst the leading cooking fuel in Nigeria, due to the scarcity of kerosene. Sawdust, the chief raw material in the production of sawdust briquette, is produced as waste product in the processing and production of woods.
The market for sawdust briquette is both local and international though the international market is more developed than the local market.
The growing world population continues to fuel the demand for cooking fuel around the world and due to increasing awareness on global warming and its effects on the ecosystem, sawdust briquette is cheaper, faster and better than the regular firewood, natural gas, charcoal and kerosene. Opportunities exist in the production, sales and export of the commodity.
The exportable nature of this product makes it a goldmine for investors who wish to go into the export of the product or for existing exporters of charcoal to make greater profit as the demand is hot abroad. The Non-carbonized is used by bakers and hotels.
The return on investment in the export of sawdust briquette is estimated between ten to fifteen percent (10%-15%).