How the baobab sector developed – a case study report

This case study report summarises the  commercial development of the baobab (Adansonia digitata) from an emerging sector to having become a mature industry over the past 20 years. Its path can serve as a guide for the commercial development of other indigenous plant species for export. 

In the baobab sector the non-profit trade association PhytoTrade has played a crucial catalysing role for developing the export sector, securing product registrations and developing consumer and retailer awareness to drive the demand for baobab products. In this report you will learn more about how baobab powder became a novel food in the European market in particular and how this was the main driver of the sector’s development. 


Read the full report here.

BAOQUALITY project presented at World Forestry Congress in Seoul

Project leader Prof. Dietrich Darr from Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences presented the work under the BAOQUALITY project at the XV World Forestry Congress 2022 in Seoul, South Korea.


The World Forestry Congress is one of the most influential conference in forestry. It serves as the global platform to issue recommendations and declarations on major forest issues worldwide. This year’s theme was “Building a Green, Healthy and Resilient Future with Forests”.

Prof. Darr’s talk was part of the side event ‘Framework to Expedite Transition to Bioeconomy with Nonwood Forest Products’, hosted by IUFRO, the Forest History Society and the US Forest Service.


Prof. Darr used the research under the BAOQUALITY project to demonstrate how baobab products, as example for nontimber forest products, can enhance the bioeconomy transition in Malawi. He highlighted the potential of baobab biomass to use as renewable energy source, showed the multiple baobab-based products currently in use and illustrated the potential for further high-value products. He discussed key challenges for the proliferation of baobab products and innovations, which are related to profitability, acceptance, environmental and social impact, value chain structure and functioning as well as policy and institutional support.  

Three new videos about baobab, its value chain and how it contributes to rural livelihood

Our partner from Baobab Exports has produced a few short videos to learn more about the baobab tree, its value chain and its crucial role as a basis for rural livelihood in Zimbabwe. 



The baobab tree can become as old as 2500 years and lives in the very dry areas of Africa and it is well-known for its very nutritious fruits.  


Behind the scenes at a baobab buying day: 

Starting at a buying centre in a remote rural area in North-Eastern Zimbabwe, Gus Le Breton  shows how the baobab fruits are collected, weighted and labelled to be transported to a cracking centre. Here the pulp is extracted from the woody outer shell and prepared for further transportation to the factory. 

Meet also Mechia Matsika, a Zimbabwean baobab fruit harvester. Baobab is her biggest source of cash income during the year. She spends the money that she earns from baobab harvesting to put her four children through school. Join her to learn how she collects baobab fruits in the forest, brings them back to her home for storage and sale.

With thanks for sharing the videos to Gus Le Breton

MSc students from JKUAT present Baoquality at Kiambu County Innovation Week, Kenya

Two of our MSc students from Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology (JKUAT), Kenya, Dennis Yegon and Margret James, were able to exhibit their work under the Baoquality project at the Kiambu County Youth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Week held from 23rd to 26th March 2022.

Kiambu County Innovation Week is a forum organized by Kenya’s national innovation agency with the goal of showcasing Kenyans’ innovativeness while also advancing the Big 4 agenda and vision. The event provided Kiambu county youths the chance to showcase their innovations and entrepreneurship ideas, as well as share challenges they are encountering, all while championing their innovative ideas and even beginning new business ventures.


The Baoquality team at JKUAT in Kenya (Prof. Willis Owino, Margaret James, and Dennis Yegon) was featured in the Agribusiness sector, where we support appropriate production standards and regulations inside firms while also fostering practical skills in applying safety standards. The HACCP development along the baobab pulp value chain was used as an example for the illustrations, with all stages of production explained, possible hazards identified, and control mechanisms supplied.

The team also displayed baobab products such as baobab fruits, powder, oils, and sweets (Mabuyus), among others, while also educating the public about the nutritional and strong health benefits associated with these products. The Baoquality team also shed light on the calibration of near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopy for non-invasive, fast, and onsite/online verification of the quality and authenticity of baobab raw materials and finished products.

                                                                         Photo credit: Willis Owino

BAOQUALITY findings presented at Webinar series on Unlocking the Bioeconomy for Nontimber Forest Products

On 18 November Katie Meinhold presented her PhD research in the webinar series on Unlocking the Bioeconomy for Nontimber Forest Products. The webinar series is hosted by the International Union of Forest Research Organisations (IUFRO).


In her presentation Katie highlighted the potential of baobab fruit products for generating rural livelihood opportunities. She presented her findings about commercialization opportunities of baobab fruit products as exemplary nontimber forest products and shared lessons learnt from local and export markets. 


Her presentation can be watched here.