Tag Archives: baobab

Lost Crops of Africa – Fruits – Free Online Technical Manual

I posted some general thoughts on this book when it was published a few years ago. The other day I came across it again, on the USAID site as a free download, although its published by The National Academic Press . I felt it would be worthwhile reminding readers of the book and giving them the link to the download.

Http pdf usaid gov pdf docs PNADS877 pdf

from: USAID
(click image for full story online)

The book covers cultivated and wild fruits in two parts. Each part presents general information on the fruits’s potential role in addressing issues such as Malnutrition, Food Security, Rural Development and Sustainable Landcare. The part on Wild Fruit also covers particular issues such as
Increasing Wild Fruit Usage, Developing Wild Fruits, Nutrition, Sustainable Forestry and Social Difficulties.

Both parts then cover a large number of fruits separately and in detail.

The cultivated fruit section covers Balanites (Balanites aegyptiaca), Baobab (Adansonia digitata), Butterfruit (Dacryodes edulis), Carissa (Carissa species), Horned Melon (Cucumis metulifer), Kei Apple (Dovyalis caffra), Marula (Sclerocarya birrea), Melon(Cucumis melo), Tamarind (Tamarindus indica) and Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus).

While the wild fruits include Aizen, Chocolate Berries, Custard Apples, Ebony, Gingerbread Plums, Gumvines, Icacina, Imbe (Garcinia livingstonii). Medlars, Monkey Oranges, Star Apples, Sugarplum, Sweet Detar (Detarium senegalense) and Tree Grapes.

Each fruit is covered in detail with abundant drawing and photographs and information on all aspects from cultivation to utilisation.

This is an amazing resource which an enormous amount of detail.

Zena Exotic Fruits – African Food Processor

Another in the series which simply links to the websites of Food Processing Companies in Africa. It is hoped that the industry can benefit from a knowledge of who’s doing what – either through the establishment of new businesses or through trading.

Dakar based Zena Exotic Fruits produces an attractive range of jams, spreads, syrups and sauces using a range of fruit including hibiscus, cashew apple, tamarind and baobab.


Exotic Fruit Spreads - { Zena } Perfect. Good. Delicious. - Exotic fruits, delicious syrups and jams.jpg

from: Zena Exotic Fruit
(click image to visit the site)


The products are based on West & North African recipes using local natural resources combined with conventional tropical fruit, peanuts & sesame. Their quality relies on

    • harmonious balance of fruits and sugars
    • controlled processing at every step
    • preserved naturally
    • prepared according to strict quality norms (HACCP)


Address: Zena Exotic Fruits SARL
Km 1.8, Rte de Rufisque
Dakar, Senegal

Tel/Dakar: +221.33.821.6996
Fax/Dakar: +221.33.822.5663
Email: zena_exoticfruits@yahoo.fr
Cel/US: +001.917.515.5621


Featured Previously on The DIGIVU Blog

Ouendmor Ltd Moriba – African Food Processor
Coast Coconut Farms – African Food Processor
Ouendmor Ltd Moriba – African Food Processor
African Food Online
Mongozo BV – African Food Processor
Homefoods Processing & Cannery Ltd – African Food Processor
Suneor SA – African Food Processor


Baobab approved in EU – notes on the Novel Food Process

The European Union has approved Baobab Pulp as a food processing ingredient under the EU’s novel food legislation.

BBC NEWS | UK | New exotic fruit to hit UK shops-1.jpg

from: BBC News
(click image for full story online)


two other links

African Agriculture – Baobab extract approved in EU ingredients market

Food Navigator – Baobab – newest kid on the novel foods block

This has been covered quite broadly, mainly with a focus on the potential US$ 1 billion a year market and the benefit that could flow to African Farmers. There are a few other issues that are of interest.

Novel Food Process

The Novel Food process requires application to be made for the approval of the use of foods and food ingredients not in common use for human consumption prior to 1997. A preliminary examination of the list of applications made under this legislation reveals:

  • there have been some 90 applications
  • few of these are for underutilised crops
  • baobab seems to be the only application from Africa
  • many of the applications are for GM crops and previously unused extracts
  • there is an application for the use of high pressure processing technology in fruit juice production

    This process is long and complicated, the process for Baobab took almost 2 years. To date there have been 32 approvals and 3 rejections.

    There is another route for products which can be shown to be “considered by a national food assessment body as “substantially equivalent” to existing foods or food ingredients” termed the Notification Procedure. This process is shorter and some 110 products have been approved.

    I do not claim to be fully conversant with this legislation and its application and implications, but can see that achieving approval is far from trivial – entrepreneurs should make sure that they build the necessary expenditure and time into their business plans for the commercialisation of a novel food in Europe.

    Market Size & Farmer Income

    The figures being bandied about with “up to” or “as much as” qualification, seem to be based on a report by by Ben Bennett from the UK’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI) for the Regional Trade Facilitation Programme (RTFP) – Foreign Direct Investment in South Africa: How big is Southern Africa’s natural product opportunity and what trade issues impede sectoral development?. This report makes a number of assumptions and totals the value of all products, not just pulp, from the Baobab with market prices to come to US$ 910 million. The real potential benefit to African farmers of this approval is much less given the post farmer value chain costs and the fact that a 75% loss from raw fruit is assumed.

    A Baobab Pulp Collection scheme in Malawi in 2005 paid R 150 per ton (already a half of what collectors receive for marula in South Africa) for pulp collected at the farmer. The values for the products assumed for the report referred to above ranged from 600 to 8 000 US$/ton.

    The details are sketchy but what is evident is the possibility that farmers receive only a small part of the total income from the utilisation of a unique natural resource. This raises the question of whether the products sold are able to sustain high value addition.

    What is important though is that the base is now in place and that opportunities can be addressed and the benefit to the “owners of the resource” can be optimised.

  • Indigenous Fruit Use – Tanzania

    Following on my previous blog on the the potential of indigenous fruits in AfricaI today read an article on progress that has been made in Tanzania.

    The Daily Fruit Wine_ Incentive Program in Africa is turning indigenous Fruit into Wine..jpg


    This article lists four trees that are being planted and five, including the baobab, tamirand and marula which are harvested from the wild, that are the focus of increased attention. It identifies the following benefits that have been achieved:

    • regional sale of jams and juices generates income
    • using fruit to replaces staples such as maize in local brews has improved nutrition
    • the use of fruit wine in place of dangerous illicit brews has improved safety

    The work has been supported/funded by FARM-Africa and Government agencies which started the work as poverty alleviation and nutritional interventions.

    The two difficulties identified are the short harvests and the inability to store unprocessed fruit and the availability of packaging material.

    I think this is very promising and am trying to follow up where I can, to try and develop a complete picture of how and what has been achieved. This will help others to benefit from their natural resources. I will also add information on marula from South Africa with time.

    I will be looking at what process to use to share the information – in the mean time please leave a comment or contact me with any ideas, thought or information you may have.