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EcoProducts Baobab powder

Sarah Venter's fascination with baobab trees, along with her strong ethical and sustainability values, led to her starting EcoProducts in 2006. This superfruit is packed with health, and the products support communities and the future of the baobab in Africa,

Limpopo Province


Website www.ecoproducts.co.za/    Phone +27 (0) 82 374 9534   Email info@ecoproducts.co.za
EcoProducts-Baobab-powder

The ancient baobab’s romantic (and healthful) allure

Sarah Venter has always been fascinated by Baobab trees, appreciating the striking tree’s presence in the landscape and their “unusual antiquity”. Being a scientist, she also understood the value of the baobab fruit - it is no misnomer that the tree is often called ‘the tree of life’; the baobab fruit is well-known as a superfruit, with “six times as much vitamin C as oranges, twice as much calcium as milk, and plenty of B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, and antioxidants” according to various sources.

“One day in 2005, while I was driving through northern Venda,” Sarah reminisces, “I noticed that the baobabs that were growing in [everywhere] were not being harvested for fruit.  I realized that if the fruit could be used, they could generate an income for the people living in his area.” Sarah was so inspired by this idea, that she founded EcoProducts in 2006. It was her vision to create a business that would utilize her knowledge of sustainable forest utilization while benefiting rural Venda people at the same time.

A small, ethical, community-empowering business is born

Within a few months Sarah has a team of 20 women in a little village called Madifha.  By the following year she was working with 400 women.  Now, Ecoproducts works with over 1000 women who all receive an income from harvesting baobab fruit.

Sarah’s strong sustainability ethics led her to complete a PhD in the ecology of baobabs and sustainable use thereof at the University of the Witwatersrand, while running the business alongside. “I have published five papers in international peer reviewed journals on the subject of baobabs,” says Sarah. “My research sites in Venda continue to be monitored and I am involved in long-term baobab data collection at other sites.  In addition, I also supervise a number of post-graduate students working on baobabs in southern Africa.”

A business with a vision of protecting the baobab for future generations

Sadly, Sarah’s research has shown that, due to climate and land-use changes, some of the baobab populations in southern Africa won’t survive the next few hundred.  She is now even more determined to use her work in EcoProducts to conserve this magnificent tree and grow awareness of its importance in our social and natural environment. The sustainable fruit harvest of baobab is therefore a priority for EcoProducts.  They don’t pick fruit off the tree, but rather collect fallen fruit preventing any damage to parent trees. They are also establishing a nursery to grow and actively plant baobab trees to boost the natural population.  

This means that by buying EcoProducts baobab products, you are essentially supporting the sustainability of this beautiful and mystical tree for future generations, as well as providing a livelihood for women in rural areas.

Another important plus is that the powder dries in the pod. This means it requires minimal processing and all the nutrients remain intact (processing usually uses heat and possible chemicals, destroying some of the nutrients in the process). So the product you buy from EcoProducts is essentially still raw!

Health benefits

Baobab, which produces a powdery fruit, is well researched superfruit, eaten to boost health and vitality. The powder can be used as a health supplement and as a food ingredient. It is has very rich quantities of vitamin C, calcium and magnesium. With 3.5 x the amount of calcium in milk and 1.5 x the amount found in almonds, baobab may well be the richest plant-based source of this mineral. This is very good news for vegans and vegetarians who choose to avoid dairy products or those who are lactose-intolerant. Baobab powder is also a powerful antioxidant with prebiotic properties. It is a natural source of dietary fibres, minerals and organic acids. For more about the health benefits read here.

*EcoProducts was issued a Bioprospecting permit from the South African Department of Environment Affairs in November 2013. South Africa has introduced laws that make it illegal to harvest our indigenous resources for commercial use. Companies must be able to prove that the resources are being harvested with the full knowledge of, and to the benefit of, the communities who own the resource, as well as in a sustainable way. EcoProducts is one of the very few companies in SA to be recognized as compliant with this legislation at present.

Some of the health benefits of baobab include it's rich concentrations of vitamin C, magnesium, potassium and calcium

EcoProducts-Baobab-powder

Watch some videos to learn more about EcoProducts' sustainability story

ECOPRODUCTS BAOBAB from Sarah Venter on Vimeo.

Eco products from Sarah Venter on Vimeo.


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