Top essential oil crops grown in Rwanda

Rwanda presents distinct advantages over the other regions in sub-Saharan Africa in agriculture sector for its good elevation, soils and climatic conditions. Therefore the sector is able to produce high quantity and quality of commodities.

Agro-climatic conditions are ideal for the production of highly priced essential oils, with markets in Europe and South Africa. While production is currently low, the government is looking to go into partnership with private investors to develop out-grower schemes and facilitate production for processing and export through making marshland available.

Essential oil  help Rwanda to diversify its exports and to use trade as a means to reduce poverty, low labor costs, cooperatives and out-grower model is ideal for rapid expansion of production.

According to National Agricultural Export Development Board, NAEB, essential oil is an aromatic volatile substance extracted by distillation or expression from a single botanical species. The resulting oil should have nothing added either during or after the process. Essential oils are used as flavors and fragrances for food, soap, detergents, perfumes, lotions, etc.

In Rwanda there are four known crops which provide essential oils. These crops are eucalyptus, geranium, lemongrass and patchouli.   

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Many companies have invested in essential oil production in Rwanda, those includes HORIZON SOPYRWA, Ikirezi natural products, Ess-oil ltd etc.

Patchouli oil

Patchouli oil is derived from Pogostemon patchouli. With its fragrance properties, is used as a natural perfume and in rehydrating dry skin.

Patchouli has been introduced in Rwanda in 2005. The plant is perfectly able to adapt to the local conditions. Its culture is used to produce essential oil that can be found in perfumery, cosmetics and aromatherapy (MINAGRI).

In the first two years, it was cultivated in eastern province, where the climatic conditions required to produce the oil were insufficient. Thus the production was moved to region of North-west of Rwanda.

The main market of patchouli is international market, even though only one firm, Ikirezi natural products, is currently selling its essential oils products for exports (NAEB).


Geranium oil

Geranium oil is derived from Pelargonium graveolens.

It is described as the natural perfume and has a number of advantageous characteristics. It is a profound therapy for the emotions. It’s delightful florescent calms and soothes the mind, body, and the mind while repelling the mosquitoes.

Geranium cultivated in Nyabihu

excellent mosquito repellent of geranium to spray on the body.

Lemongrass oil

Wholly derived from Cymbopogon citratus.

Lemongrass essential oil is fresh smelling oil that can be used with success for fighting jet lag, cellulite and revitalizing a tired body and mind. It is also an excellent mosquito repellent.

Gasogi big plot of lemongrass for sale

lemongrass oil

Eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus essential oil is derived from Eucalyptus globulus, 100% organic.

The oil has the germicidal effects to ease pains in muscles, joints and kills bacteria in sickrooms.

eucalyptus nursery in Nyabihu


Rosemary is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves. In the local markets, a small bunch goes for about Rwf 500.

rosemary oil is widely employed in cosmetic products.

Rosemary nursery of HORIZON SOPYRWA  in Nyabihu










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