The area has had lovely late rains, but this has affected our normal fruit harvesting time. Normally all the fruit would have fallen to the ground by now and been picked up by our harvesters, but this year more than half of them are still on the trees. So we are waiting for the fruit to drop off the trees… you can't hurry nature!
Corporate Social Responsibility
Tag: baobab fruit
During an impressive ceremony hosted by the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in Polokwane last week, EcoProducts was one of three companies who were awarded a bioprospecting permit. The permit was handed over to Dr Sarah Venter and two community representatives, Ms Sophiah Nemutshenzheni and Ms Livhuwani Tshivhiyahuvhi by the MEC for Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Limpopo Province, Mr Moloto.
The permit means that Sarah and her communities have the blessing of the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs for their activities. They are only one of 11 companies who are now compliant with the new legislation on bioprospecting and the utilization of our indigenous biological resources.
The Biodiversity Act which promotes the "fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources". In this way the act is founded on the Nagoya Protocol on Access and Benefit Sharing which arose from the Convention on Biological Diversity.
A few months ago, we told you about Healthbox SA which we think is such a cool concept! Each month, subscribers to Health Box SA are sent a luxurious combination of health, fitness and wellness products. Each item has been tried, tested and tasted by a panel of experts to ensure that what lands up on subscribers’ doorsteps are the latest, trusted and best-for-you products available. Last time our Baobab oil featured and this month EcoProducts Baobab Superfruit powder makes its debut appearance in the Healthbox.
Health Box SA delivers – to the subscriber’s door – all the best healthy products the wellness market has to offer!
To try it out for yourself, click here for more details http://buff.ly/15AQ7rC
Absolutely nothing goes to waste when we make our baobab oil and powder. We would potentially have three ‘waste’ products. The first is the shell of the fruit, which is cracked open to remove the power and seed in the primary stage of processing. The second is the seed coat, this is the very hard outer layer of the seed itself. We remove this just before we extract the oil as it does not contain any oil. The third is the seed cake, this is left over after we have pressed the seed. The fruit shells are used as a fuel in our Donkey Boiler to make hot water for our staff to shower. The baobab seed coats are used as mulch in our vegetable and flower gardens. Lastly the seed cake is used by livestock farmers in the area as feed for their cattle and sheep. Nothing is left after we've processed the baobab seed pods – it all goes back to Nature.
Last week while on a photo shoot in Venda, the harvesters asked me where I went with all the baobab fruit I buy from them. So I said, why don’t you come and see? We worked out the taxi money from Venda and back and set a date for the following Thursday.
The women travelled 200km to visit EcoProducts in Makhado. They arrived in their beautiful Minwendas (traditional venda dress). I could not resist the temptation of putting on my Minwenda which was given to me by Chief Sumbana a few years ago.
We showed the women around the premises and they chatted with all the staff. When they saw what the fruit was being used for and how we process the powder and oil, they realized why I am so fussy about the quality of fruit I buy from them. There was such tremendous ‘buy-in’ from them, once they understood the importance of the harvesting work they did. They felt part of a greater process rather than just the suppliers of the fruit.
We showed them the cracking, separating, sieving and packing of the powder. They also were amazed by the oil press and that such a small dry seed could produce oil.
How old were your parents when you were born? Not as old as the Baobab tree has to be before it's capable of bearing fruit. It can take a Baobab tree up to 200 years before it produces its first green-brown velvety pod-shaped fruit. January is when Baobabs start to fruit and fruit production is highly variable between trees. Some trees never produce fruit even though they flower every year. Some trees produce only a few fruit a year and others produce huge quantities. I have been monitoring baobab tree fruit production in Venda for 7 years. The record was 1200 fruit on one tree, but this was highly unusual. Mostly they average about 65 fruit per tree per year. EcoProducts only ever harvests fallen fruit to avoid harming the parent tree.