Africa is typically seen as the importing continent. Sub-Saharan Africa’s spiraling food import bill—which stood at $43 billion in 2019, has continued to attract mounting attention as a worrisome trend. However, Africa is exporting too.

While we look forward to a future where Africa makes full use of its unutilized arable land to achieve food sufficiency and increased exports, we are showcasing one of Africa’s exports to the world: The African Basil flavor.

The African Basil (Ocimum gratissimum) is an aromatic herb that is native to West Africa but has spread to India and Southeast Asia. The flowers and the leaves of this herb are rich in essential oils and add fragrant flavor to soups, salads, and other local dishes. It is a multipurpose and versatile flavor with applications across culinary, medicinal, preservatives and perfumes and has different names: Ram Tulsi (Hindi); Effirin (Yoruba); Nchanwu or Ahuji (Igbo);  Daidoya (Hausa) and Nunum (Ghana).

In this edition, we feature the versatile African Basil leaf and its applications across local delicacies, as well as drinks. We hope to give the dextrous African Basil its due recognition as one African export that has changed global cuisine.

We also have other updates but first: welcome to the third edition of our ‘A Taste of Africa’ newsletter!

Kojo Brifo

Managing Director, Freddy Hirsch Nigeria


Flavor of the month

Our flavor for the month is the African Basil leaf; an aromatic herb that is native to West Africa but has deeply influenced Asian and global cuisine.

It is rich in essential oils and adds fragrant flavor to soups, salads, and other local dishes. The bright colors make it stand out beautifully in local delicacies, especially Pepper soup, Local Jollof rice (Popularly called Village rice), Yam pepper sauce (Nmiri Okun ji), Yam/ plantain porridge, Beans Pottage, and Soups (White soup: Nsala and Vegetable soup). It is also as useful in soft drinks and cocktails.

Find out more about our Basil flavors here 


You can also watch our video on this King of Herbs here




Freddy Hirsch in the news

The Managing Director for our Nigerian/West African operations, Kojo Brifo was recently interviewed by a few leading newspapers in Nigeria. Kojo spoke on food insecurity, the impact of AFCFTA on food sustainability, and the supply chain vulnerabilities of food manufacturers in Nigeria and advises patronage of indigenous ingredients distributors amid dollar shortage for imports. You can read this interview here

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