Friday, May 7, 2010

Fruit Company dominate Global Baobab Market

An Italian company, the Baobab Fruit Company Senegal (BFCS), has been producing a range of baobab products in Senegal for several years - including fruit pulp, seeds and oil - for sale in Europe as dietary supplements and cosmetic products.

For six months each year during the December-June harvest, it employs more than 950 collectors in the southwest Tambacounda region and operates a small processing plant with around 100 workers in the city of Thies.

The company produces between 150 to 200 tonnes of baobab raw material products a year. Like PhytoTrade, its representatives say they are excited about the EU novel foods approval, which has triggered increased commercial enquiries.

'For us, it's a fruit of the future, it will have a huge impact on Africa,' said Laudana Zorzella, the production and commercial representative in Dakar of BFCS, which has been studying the baobab's potential for over a decade. But she cautions it could take time for the product pipeline to be able to benefit African farmers: 'It's not just around the corner.'

In the baobab forests around Tandene village in Senegal, local farmers said they looked forward to earning much more from the trees. Prices for a kilo of baobab fruit varied between 175 to 500 CFA francs (€.26-.76), they said.

'If people know (that European consumers will buy the product) then they'll look after the trees better and feed them less to their animals,' said farmer Alassane Sy. Soon we hope to present to our readers an exclusive interview with one of the three founders of this dynamic company.

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