Most of the dried ginger that are available for international trade are simply sun dried over a few days, but artificial drying is also used in areas lacking a defined dry season to coincide with the harvest. The rhizome is dried to between 10 and 12 per cent moisture content.
Dried ginger is usually presented in a split or sliced form. Splitting is said to be preferred to slicing, as slicing loses more flavour, but the sliced are easier to grind and this is the predominant form of dried ginger currently in the market.
The list of ginger uses is almost endless, being a pungent spicy herb and one of the more popular food spices. They range from baked products like gingerbread, ginger biscuits, ginger cookies to drinks like ginger tea, ginger beer, ginger ale, etc.
Ginger contains about two percent essential oil. The oil is extracted and distilled from rhizomes for various uses in confectionery, perfumery, beverages and pharmaceuticals. Dried ginger is used predominantly for flavouring coffee especially in the Middle East.
It contains medicinal qualities and it is also used to calm nausea and aids digestion. Dried ginger is used in many different cooking methods. It is an important spice in Asia, the Caribbean and African cooking.
The market for ginger especially the overseas market in Asia and Europe is large, expanding and sustainable because of the numerous uses of ginger. Buyers usually would like to secure steady source of supply of these products.
The seller that is able to secure a contract at the right price would have an uphill task meeting the demand of the buyer. European Union imported ginger up to 43,056 tons during 2006.Few largest importers are UK (15,962 tons), Netherlands (13,204 tons), Germany (4364 tons) and France (2666 tons).
This international demand and the presence of some ginger processing companies in Nigeria continue to drive the demand for the commodity.
The return on investment on the local trading of dry split ginger is estimated between 10%- 15%.