Essential oil obtained from the Damask rose (Rosa damascene [Rosa gallica x Rosa moschata]) and produced under conventional agricultural conditions sells for R30 000 per kilogram, however when oil is organically certified its price soars to as much as R65 000 a kilogram. This oil is in demand on the local and international markets.

Rose oil has a deep, rosy, fresh aroma, and its colour ranges from clear to pale yellow. The major chemical constituents of rose oil are citronellol, geranoil, nerol, linaloor and phenyl ethyl alcohol.

The Damask rose demonstration agronomy project will establish a 20 ha demonstration site in the eastern Free State. That area is thought to be ideal because of its climate which is characterised by very cold winters followed by an extended cool spring - and agro-ecological potential. Flowers are hand-harvested before sunrise and the petals distilled the same day to extract the essential oil. Four job opportunities per hectare will be created during this five-year project.