Baobab fruit harvesting – a truly sustainable practice

From time to time, we get a question from concerned consumers about the sustainability of wild harvesting baobab fruit pods.  We’re always pleased when people ask this  because it means they’re the kind of consumers we appreciate – those who consider the environment when making purchase decisions.

So we’re happy to tell you that Baobab fruit harvesting does not pose a threat to the future of baobab populations.  In fact the harvesting often gives the trees a value and thus are looked after by people who are benefiting from the trees.  In addition, funds from the proceeds of baobab sales are being channeled, by EcoProducts, to the conservation of the trees and further research into their ecology.  

Dr Sarah Venter, owner of EcoProducts,  did her PhD thesis on sustainable fruit harvesting.  She says: “my research found that baobabs have a very high ecological tolerance level, meaning that we could harvest up to 95% of the fruit without it affecting the regeneration capacity of the population.  In fact, we only harvest 10% of the fallen fruit, so the harvesting that EcoProducts does, does no harm to the individual trees or the baobab population at all.  However my research found that the biggest threat to regeneration is the high levels of goats in rural areas. The goats eat the young seedlings that come up and thus no baobabs are able to grow tall enough to escape goat damage.” 

Therefore from the proceeds of Ecoproducts sales,  we support a tree planting project to overcome the problem of the goats.  This program is called The Baobab Guardians Program and has been running since 2014 with excellent success in establishing baobab trees in rural villages in Venda (South Africa)

Learn more about the Baobab Guardians program here. And here

So please rest easy that if you’re purchasing EcoProducts’ baobab oil or baobab powder products, not only are you buying a sustainably wild-harvested product which helps to provide a livelihood to impoverished Venda communities, you’re also contributing to the Baobab Guardians Program – helping to ensure the future survival of Baobabs in South Africa.  

BBC Kate Quilton

 

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