BAOQUALITY Project featured on regional news

On 28th November the BAOQUALITY project has been presented in the regional German news programme ‘Lokalzeit Duisburg’ on the channel WDR.

William Dumenu, PhD candidate under the BAOQUALITY project and project leader Prof. Dietrich Darr of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences, explain the importance of the baobab fruits for food and nutrition security, in particular during the lean season and its potential for generating income among local communities. 

 

The film briefly explains about the activities under BAOQUALITY to improve baobab value chains and processing of baobab products highlighting the example of the pilot project in Kilifi, Kenya:

 

‘In Kilifi, Kenya we supported the local communities to establish a processing enterprise for baobab fruits and oil, with the aim to use the growing baobab trees in that region, where no real market has been existing for these products. Now 60 or 70 farmers are organised in a cooperative, and a local entrepreneur acquired the machines and has been training local farmers how to properly collect and process the fruits.’, Prof. Darr elaborates.

 

The film is available under this link (minutes 8.54-12.12) until December 5th, 2022 (7.30 pm CET).

 

Book chapter on the potential of non-timber forest products for the bioeconomy transition: the example of baobab

Book chapter: The potential of non-timber forest products to contribute to the bioeconomy transition: the example of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Malawi

Researchers of the BAOQUALITY project have contributed a chapter to a book that provides the first in-depth investigation of how non-timber forest products are an integral part of local, national, and global bioeconomies.

Drawing on a review of past and ongoing research on baobab production, processing, and commercialisation in East Africa, our chapter illustrates the potential of baobab to contribute to the bioeconomy transition, discusses related challenges, and provides recommendations on the way forward. We demonstrate how baobab products can contribute to a sustainable and inclusive bioeconomy through innovative bio-based products and the principles of cascading use, renewable energy, and circularity of nutrients. We discuss challenges related to mainstreaming innovative uses and products relative to profitability, acceptance, environmental and social impact, value chain structure and functioning, and policy and institutional changes required for their successful proliferation. Our chapter thus provides practical insight into the “what” (challenges and opportunities) and “how” (support) of promoting the transition of African economies towards a bioeconomy through improved use of NTFPs.

The book is in print and scheduled for publication on 19 December 2022 (hardback) and 30 Nov 2023 (paperback). It can be found on the Routledge website https://www.routledge.com/The-bioeconomy-and-non-timber-forest-products/Smith-Hall-Chamberlain/p/book/9781032156262.

Citation:

Darr D, Dumenu WK, Gebauer J, Kasulo V, Kleinke M, Meinhold K, Munthali CRM, Wichern F (2022): The potential of non-timber forest products to contribute to the bioeconomy transition: the example of baobab (Adansonia digitata L.) in Malawi.

In: Smith-Hall C, Chamberlain JL (eds.): The bioeconomy and non-timber forest products: theory and empirical advances, 1st ed., Routledge, London, ISBN: 978-1-03-215626-2.

Original Article from 24 November 2022 on the website of the Food Systems Research Centre  of Rhine-Waal University of Applied Sciences.

Stakeholder workshops in Kenya and Malawi bring project results to practitioners

In September and October the local partners of the BAOQUALITY project held two stakeholder workshops in Lilongwe, Malawi and Kilifi, Kenya. The aim of the workshops was to bring the BAOQUALITY project results, and particularly the findings on how to improve packaging and storage of baobab products, to local processors. The workshops were supported by colleagues from Frauenhofer IVV. As part of the workshops, the local producers were able to present their baobab products to other stakeholders during a half-day exposition. The workshops were well received by the stakeholders.

Photo credit: Phil Rosenow

New video series on how to become a Baobab Processor

BAOQUALITY consultant Gus Le Breton, also known as the African Plant Hunter, produced a series of three videos for BAOQUALITY aiming to inform African entrepreneurs who want to enter the emerging Baobab industry.

 

Being an experienced Baobab entrepreneur  himself and the current Board Chair of the African Baobab Alliance (ABA), he has prepared a three-part guide on the opportunities and risks around entering the fast-developing baobab sector.

 

In Part 1 he answers questions about:

– What kind of products can be produced from baobab?

– Which market to target – export vs. local?

– Where to sell your products?

In Part 2, Gus dives into the details of Baobab fruit powder production. He discusses topics around:

 

 

– How to choose the right fruit?

– How to store the fruit before selling?

– Why traceability in the supply chain is important

– fair trading relations with harvesters

– storing the fruit before processing

– basic hygiene in processing

– processing techniques

– basic measures of quality

– packaging 

– storage

Finally, Part 3 provides an overview about processing Baobab seed oil, including:


– seed preparation

– pressing

– filtration

– basic measures of quality

– packaging

– storage


Enjoy watching and let us know what you think in the comments!

BAOQUALITY Final Workshop in Lilongwe, Malawi

The final BAOQUALITY workshop took place from the 20th to the 22nd of September in Lilongwe, Malawi. After a long period of working together remotely and only meeting each other digitally because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were delighted that we could meet each other in person again.  During the 2.5 days workshop, the MSc and PhD students involved in the project from the different partner countries (Kenya, Sudan, Malawi, and Germany) had the chance to present their research findings to the project consortium and to experts from the broader baobab sector and to discuss practical implications of their work. The workshop participants were also able to visit a local producer of baobab juice and associated project partner, Naturals Limited, to learn and taste about baobab in practice.
During the field trip to Naturals Limited, BAOQUALITY consultant Gus Le Breton, also known as the African Plant Hunter on Youtube, prepared a short video about the production of Baobab juice.   Check it out here:

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.