Policy Briefs on baobab entrepreneurship and commercialisation

A series of policy briefs has been developed based on the main findings that emerged from research under work package 4 on product innovation capabilities and system-level support:


No. 1 – Pathways addressing informality of baobab enterprises in Malawi

No. 2 – Fostering innovation performance of baobab enterprises

No. 3 – Promoting the performance and growth of informal baobab enterprises in Malawi

No. 4 – Fostering sustainable commercialisation of Wild Food Resources: Lessons leant from the case of baobab


The policy briefs can be found in our public library under reports.


Happy reading!

So you want to be a baobab processor?

Under the previous project BAOFOOD a community-based pilot processing plant for baobab oil and powder was established in Kilifi, Kenya, under the coordination of Anthony Maina from Wild Living Resources. 

BAOQUALITY supported its further development through training of producers and improvement of quality procedures. With the project ending and the pilot plant fully established, we are below sharing some visual impressions of the production site and provide a tool kit for potential baobab entrepreneurs, who want to establish a similar enterprise.

Producing baobab powder and baobab seed oil

baobab fruits
baobab powder machine
Hygiene is important for handling the fruits
Removal of the baobab pulp from the fruits
filling the machine with baobab pulpe
baobab powder extracted
final product of baobab powder on a fair in Kilifi
oil press for producing baobab seed oil
producing baobab seed oil
baobab seed oil
Baobab seed oil at fair in Kilifi

You consider starting your own business?

Here you find a tool kit for setting up a baobab powder and/or oil processing plant:

 – Video tutorials: So you want to be a baobab entrepreneur: Part 1, 2 and 3

 – Business Plan

 – Floor Plans 1 and 2

 – Financial Model

 – Standard Operation Procedures


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.


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.