Eco Products Organic Certification
Eco Products baobab seed oil and baobab fruit pulp have been certified according to EU and NOP (National Organic Program)/USDA organic standards.
EcoProducts works with communities who live in the poorest and most underdeveloped part of South Africa. Households are often headed by women, who have to support large extended families. There are few jobs in this area and local people rely on subsistence agriculture and social grants for their survival. Thus, working directly with these communities, brings much needed economic benefits. EcoProducts has developed relationships with several villages. Each village is visited once a month in order to give harvesters enough time to collect fruit. Rural women, even if they are unemployed, have a full day: tilling fields, collecting firewood and water, cooking food, looking after children and meeting social and tribal responsibilities. In some villages, a micro-economy has established around these collection days: fruit vendors arrive, non-perishable foodstuffs are sold between villages and goods that are difficult to get in the area are bartered. The sale of baobab fruit and seeds has already become an important source of income in these areas. EcoProducts is working with traditional leaders to protect trees and encourage sustainable harvesting. Historically Baobab fruits were used as a food source and for this reason the trees where protected by cultural by-laws. In present times the fruits are no longer eaten and the tree is loosing its importance. Now, despite provincial and national legislation protecting Baobab trees, trees are being cut down to make way for fields, roads and houses. Through the sale of Baobab products we aim to reverse this trend. EcoProducts has started a tree planting program in villages in order to boost the population of baobab trees for future production. This is a long term project as trees only start bearing fruit after about 20 years. Baobab trees can live for over 500 years and they continue to bear fruit for most of their lifetime.
The Baobab Tree
The Baobab tree, Adansonia digitata, grows in Africa. It is an unusual looking tree with a thick stem and spindly branches resembling roots. Many people call the Baobab ‘the upside-down’ tree because of its strange appearance.
Once a year the trees are covered in large, white, saucer-shaped flowers. These flowers open at night and are pollinated by bats, bees and wasps. Once pollinated the flowers produce large oval-shaped pods. The pods are fibrous on the outside and filled with little kidney-shaped seeds embedded in a white pulp. The pulp is commonly known as ‘cream-of-tartar’.
The baobab tree has many uses. Its leaves can be eaten as spinach. The fruit pulp can be made into a nutritious drink or used to thicken stews. Seeds are used to produce oil and can also be roasted to make coffee. The bark of the baobab tree has strong fibers that are used as rope.
Baobab trees are also known for their exceptional long life. Trees are commonly known to live up to 1000-1500 years. Some of the biggest trees, with girths measuring over 37 meters, are considered to be over 2500 years old.