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.