Trade Hub Awards Grant to PhytoTrade to Promote Baobab in the US
SATH is pleased to announce an initiative that will see it supporting the baobab sector in the southern African region. Under the Southern Africa Baobab Initiative (SABI), funded through a one-year US$99,950 grant, SATH will work with PhytoTrade Africa, the southern African natural products trade association, to assist the sector penetrate the U.S. market. SATH selected baobab as one of its target value chains due to the sector‟s grassroots and developmental impact, the significant involvement of women as harvesters, the number of countries in the region that could benefit from support, the potential to increase their income levels and access to food, and the great potential to export baobab and various baobab products under AGOA.
The Baobab fruit (Adanansonia digitata) is regarded as the „Tree of Life‟, or new „superfruit‟, and is found across southern Africa. The fruit‟s seeds are pressed to produce premium cosmetic oil and the powder (pulp) is utilized for the food and beverage sector as a raw powder and in value added extracts. Described as the flavor of 2011, the powder contains more calcium per mg than milk, more antioxidants than Goji berry, as well as 50% dietary fiber (soluble and insoluble fibers) and trace minerals such as Magnesium, Potassium and Iron. Some products containing powder have already been launched, including smoothies, energy bars, juices, and body lotion.
The fruit is harvested by rural producers, often women, in southern Africa and the income generated provides a well needed cash safety net, as well as a boost to the local economy. There is a trend in the food and beverage markets towards the increased use of natural ingredients and organic and fair trade certified where possible. PhytoTrade has been facilitating the development of new active natural ingredients from southern Africa, dealing with the regulatory hurdles for access into global markets, and ensuring a reliable, high quality and sustainable supply chain, with fair trade, ethical and organic certification.
The members of PhytoTrade Africa have developed the capacity to produce quality natural ingredients and are able to fulfill international export orders. Most of PhytoTrade's baobab is supplied by TreeCrops of Malawi. Other countries significantly participating in the baobab industry are Mozambique, South Africa and Zimbabwe.