Africa’s Iconic Tree, Baobab a Big Business
The majestic baobab tree is an icon of the African continent and lies at the heart of many traditional African remedies and folklore.
The baobab is a prehistoric species which predates both mankind and the splitting of the continents over 200 million years ago. Native to the African savannah where the climate is extremely dry and arid, it is a symbol of life and positivity in a landscape where little else can thrive. Over time, the Baobab has adapted to its environment. It is a succulent, which means that during the rainy season it absorbs and stores water in its vast trunk, enabling it to produce a nutrient-dense fruit in the dry season when all around is dry and arid. This is how it became known as “The Tree of Life”.
Baobab trees grow in 32 African countries. They can live for up to 5,000 years, reach up to 30 metres high and up to an enormous 50 metres in circumference. Baobab trees can provide shelter, food and water for animals and humans, which is why many savannah communities have made their homes near Baobab trees.
The striking silhouette of a baobab tree at sunset is a familiar site to anyone who has spent time in rural Africa – but it is also well known all across the world thanks to its starring roles in Disney’s Lion King (it is Rafiki the monkey’s tree), Avatar (The Tree of Souls), Madagascar and the famous children’s novel The Little Prince.
Baobab Tree, a Big Business in African
Taerou Dieuhiou has been climbing barefoot up baobab trees in Senegal’s southern Casamance region to collect their oblong fruit since he was 15. He uses a long pole to dislodge the fruit from the outer branches.
Until recently, baobabs were only tapped for local use but in a major business shift, a small network of producers and suppliers has pushed the fruit’s profile abroad.
Inside the hard, green shell that dangles from the spindly branches of Africa’s most iconic tree is a citrussy pulp that has become a popular “superfood” in the United States and Europe.
Coca-Cola’s Innocent, U.K. yogurt maker Yeo Valley and U.S. wholesaler Costco are among the major brands to sell baobab products. The transformation has started to bring in much needed revenue to African farmers.
Through a cooperative called GIE, Baobab des Saveurs, a small company with buyers in Australia and Canada pays Dieuhiou up to 10,000 CFA francs ($18) per sack, more than double what he received from local middlemen a few years ago.
Exports of the hard-shelled fruit rose from 50 tonnes in 2013 to 450 tonnes in 2017, according to industry group – African Baobab Alliance. They are expected to reach 5000 tonnes by 2025, about 500 shipping containers a year.
While growing demand has increased farmers’ winnings, it has raised worries about sustainability, particularly in sub Saharan Africa where some experts say climate change has impacted crop development.
Experts have also questioned whether a global market for baobab can be sustained. Unlike coffee or cocoa found in abundance in Africa, baobab is not a plantation crop. There is also evidence that those trees are under threat.
While many people know of the baobab tree, not many people know that it has a fruit – and even less know that this fruit is one of the most nutrient-dense foods in the world.
In fact, every part of the baobab tree is valuable – the bark can be turned into rope and clothing, the seeds can be used to make cosmetic oils, the leaves are edible, the trunks can store water and the fruit is extraordinarily rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Women in Africa have turned to the baobab fruit as a natural source of health and beauty for centuries.
Baobab is the only fruit in the world that dries naturally on its branch. Instead of dropping and spoiling, it stays on the branch and bakes in the sun for 6 months – transforming its green velvety coating into a hard coconut-like shell. The pulp of the fruit dries out completely. This means the fruit simply needs to be harvested, deseeded and sieved to produce a delicious pure fruit powder.
Unlike many other supplements, baobab powder does not have to be spray-dried, freeze-dried or transformed in any way. It is 100% pure fruit in its natural form. Incredibly, the fruit has a natural shelf live of 3 years so there are no preservatives or additives whatsoever.
Aduna Baobab Powder is one of the health and beauty world’s best kept secrets. It is an extremely rich source of vitamin C, almost 50% fibre and has the highest antioxidant content of any whole fruit. The benefits of baobab include:
Energy release – reduction of tiredness and fatigue
Immune function – protection against illnesses, infections and diseases
Digestive health – baobab is a natural prebiotic, supporting gut health
Healthy, younger-looking skin – baobab produces collagen leading to a glowing complexion and helps fight the signs of ageing.
Baobab trees grow in some of the driest, remotest and poorest parts of rural Africa. There is no such thing as a baobab plantation; every tree is community or family owned and wild-harvested.
An estimated 10 million households can provide baobab from the existing crop, that is so abundant it mainly goes to waste. National Geographic estimate that a global demand for baobab could be worth 1 billion dollars to rural Africa every year.
HOW TO TAKE BAOBAB
Aduna Baobab Powder has a delicious sweet and citrussy flavour – a bit like zingy sherbet. It is perfect for sprinkling onto cereal, granola, yoghurt or fruit or mixing into smoothies, juices or water. Just let your imagination lead the way – or check out our baobab recipes for inspiration.
Our Baobab Raw Energy Bar is perfect for getting your daily dose of #baobablove on the go. Combing two teaspoons of baobab powder with cold-pressed pineapple and almonds, it contains no added sugar, gluten, wheat or dairy: the perfect healthy snack.
Aduna’s Baobab Superfruit Powder and Baobab Raw Energy Bars were both winners at the 2015 Great Taste Awards: the first time a superfood had ever won this prestigious award.
SHOP THE ADUNA BAOBAB RANGE
Aduna’s organic-certified range of baobab products are best-sellers in leading health and beauty retailers in the UK and all over the world.
Find a store near you or order online now and we will deliver straight to your door. We ship worldwide and offer free delivery for all orders over £20 in the UK or £50 international. Shop now.