EcoProducts vision is to make a meaningful contribution to the livelihoods of rural people and to the conservation of baobab trees.
What we do
EcoProducts buys baobab fruit from rural communities. The fruit are processed in our factory to extract baobab powder and baobab oil. The extracts are packaged and sold to retail stores and sold in bulk to local and international manufacturers of food and cosmetic products.
EcoProducts is a company based in Limpopo Province, South Africa. Since 2006, EcoProducts has led the way in the development and supply of baobab oil and baobab powder to the manufacture and retail sectors. The company has developed expertise in wild harvesting protocols, rural community supply chains, track and trace systems and baobab fruit processing technology. EcoProducts is one of the first companies in the bio-trade sector in South Africa to gain organic status and to comply with national bio-prospecting legislation.
Sarah Venter, founder of EcoProducts
Baobab trees have fascinated me since I was a child; I love their presence in the landscape and their unusual antiquity. One day in 2005, while I was driving through northern Venda, I noticed that the baobabs that were growing in every village and field were not being harvested for fruit. I realized that if the fruit could be used, they generate an income for the people living in his area. I was so inspired by this idea, I founded EcoProducts in 2006. My vision was to create a business that would use my knowledge of sustainable forest utilization and benefit rural Venda people at the same time! Within a few months I found myself working with 20 women in a little village called Madifha. Word spread fast and by the following year I was working with 400 women. Numbers grew and now over 1000 women receive and income from harvesting baobab fruit.
Being a scientist with a strong ethic in conservation and sustainable utilization, I felt strongly that in order to continue with this work I would need to make absolutely sure that harvesting baobab fruit was sustainable. Without stopping my work in Venda, I completed a PhD in the Ecology of baobabs in relation to sustainable utilization”at the University of the Witwatersrand. Although EcoProducts is my main focus, I still continue my scientific work on baobabs. I have published 5 papers in international peer reviewed journals on the subject of baobabs. My research sites in Venda continue to be monitored and I am involved in long-term baobab data collection at other sites. In addition, I also supervise a number of post-graduate students working on baobabs in southern Africa.
Through my research I discovered that due to climate and land-use change some baobab tree population will crash in a few hundred years time. Although we may not be around then, our great great great grandchildren will be. I am now even more determined to dedicate my work in EcoProducts to conserve this magnificent tree and grow awareness of its importance in our social and natural environment.